Sonoma pool group seeking a site

The group of Sonoma residents looking to build a community pool in city limits may be one step closer to taking that first swim.

Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association (SVHRA), a nonprofit comprised of Valley residents (including those in the former Citizens United for a Sonoma Pool) who want to bring a public pool to Sonoma, has had four donors step forward with seed money and pledges for the $7-million-plus project, said group treasurer Sam Coturri.

The charter members of the fundraising group, according to Coturri, are Hamel Family Wines owners Pam and George Hamel, Repris Wines owner Jim Momtazee, and screenwriter and owner of Kamen Estate Wines Robert Mark Kamen. “This core group will be the cornerstone of our fundraising,” Coturri said.

A Sonoma native, Coturri remembers swimming at the high school pool and seeing his mom, who is a local swim instructor, fight to bring a community pool to Sonoma for the last 20 years. “Every community needs to have access to and the opportunity to learn to swim, so people can stay active and healthy, have fun and make friends,” said Coturri, adding that after two years of working on bringing a pool to Sonoma, it seems like the project finally has enough momentum.

The group made a splash at the Vintage Festival parade on its bubbly blue float, created with Illusions Lighting and as one of the festival’s beneficiaries. In an effort to show the community the group is ready to begin building a pool, SVHRA launched its new brand campaign, Sonoma Splash. In June 2013, the United States Swimming Association selected SVHRA for an in-house “Build-a-Pool” conference, at which it counseled attendees on how to build an economically sustainable and beneficial facility. Shortly thereafter, former Olympic swimmer, American record holder for breaststroke and Index-Tribune Food and Wine Editor Kathleen Hill joined SVHRA’s board.

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