Wave of the Future receives generous donations

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From left are Wave of the Future contributors Rose Eglseder, Amy Clefisch, Juanita and Mayor Russ Loven. Donations total near $330,000 to date. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Members of the Wave of the Future campaign committee for the Guttenberg swimming pool gathered at city hall on Thursday, Sept. 21. Two new donors announced their contributions to the campaign, and teams reported on their activities since the last meeting.

Russ and Juanita Loven revealed their $30,000 pledge for the project, which they will give over the next three tax years. “Swimming is important to our family and there’s no question about the rewards of a swimming pool in any community,” said Loven. “It’s good for economic development. The big things that attract people and keep people in a community are affordable housing, good jobs, and quality of life – good healthcare, good schools, and recreation. All three are equally important. Pools are costly to build and costly to maintain, but I look at this as an investment, because we want people to learn to swim and have it as an attraction to the community for people who are out job hunting or making a decision whether to come to a town.”

Canvassing teams then reported on their visits in various neighborhoods around the community, sharing mostly positive responses with the majority of questions being raised around the bond referendum and how it would impact taxes. Committee members have visited with businesses on Highway 52 and River Park Drive and residents in the Acre Street area, downtown, and in local campgrounds, as well as distributing case statements at school in-service days, within the faith communities of Guttenberg, Garnavillo, North Buena Vista and Garber, and to parents at Kids Kampus and the Garnavillo Day Care. 

Presentations were given to the Clayton city council, the hospital board and the school board, which were all in favor of the project. The three local banks are coordinating their responses to a request for donations. Presentations are also planned for the Garnavillo city council and Lions Club meetings and the Athletic Boosters, and presentations have already been given to the Rotary Club and various other clubs in Guttenberg. 

Committee members also reported on positive encounters with potential vendors. The committee has planned a meeting for Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. in the lower level of the Guttenberg Municipal Building for vendors to learn about opportunities to get involved in the Wave of the Future. A working dinner will be served. Burbach Aquatics consultants will explain the project and invite vendors to help with this new community asset. Volunteers are also encouraged to come forward if they have relevant skills or would be willing to help with projects like painting the pool vessel. 

Rose Eglseder and daughter Amy Clefisch concluded the meeting by announcing their family’s contribution. "Only by giving are you able to receive more then you already have," Clefisch quoted. “My list could go on and on about the things that my family and I have received from this community and from the pool.”

“Early in childhood, this swimming pool gave my brother and I something to do all day long, every day during the summer. It taught us to be strong swimmers which is important living next to the Mississippi. It gave us bags and bags of gummies and Tootsie Rolls from the concession stand when we scrounged up every penny we had.” Clefisch and her late brother, Dustin Eglseder, both worked as guards at the swimming pool during high school. “It taught us the value of hard work,” she said. 

“Ten years ago, this entire community gave our family unconditional support, prayers, and love when my brother Dustin, at the young age of 23, was diagnosed and ultimately passed from cancer. People are often amazed when I tell them the story about our community rallying to extend the 4th of July parade by over a mile to our house in his final days so that he could enjoy one last Stars and Stripes festivity. After his death, my family realized that we will never, ever be able to pay back the community that gave us so much,  so we established the Dustin Eglseder Endowment for Guttenberg Youth, so that we can let his legacy live on, and continue to pay it forward,” said Clefisch.“I am excited to announce, on behalf of several members of my family and the Dustin Eglseder Memorial Endowment, that we will be contributing as a Gold Sponsor in memory of my brother, with a gift of at least $12,000.”

Readers should mark their calendars for a community open house on Nov. 9, and can pick up an informational case statement from city hall. To request more information or a presentation about the project to your group, contact committee co-chair Bec Knudtson at 252-1519.

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