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Keeping the Kewaskum Pond Open with Adam Gitter
Episode 2921st February 2022 • Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz • Fuzz Martin
00:00:00 00:17:09

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The Kewaskum Kiwanis Park Pond is in danger of being unable to open in 2022. Finding employees is becoming more and more difficult, and if the Village cannot find a pond supervisor and 15+ lifeguards, it is likely that the pond will stay closed for the 2022 season.

This week, Kewaskum Village Administrator Adam Gitter joins me to talk about the pond, his nostalgia for the pond, and what it's going to take to keep it open. It's a great opportunity for those who want to see the pond remain open.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming the pond supervisor or a lifeguard, visit the Kewaskum Village website.

If you like the show, please consider subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

New episodes on Tuesday.

Thanks for listening!

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Fuzz Martin 0:09

Hello WashCo Wisco residents or alum or other interested parties thank you for tuning in to 15 minutes with Fuzz. I'm your host Fuzz Martin and this is a show where we feature good things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. I release new episodes every Monday morning and midnight. You can find the show on Spotify, Apple podcasts and Google podcasts are at This is a labor of love, which is coincidentally in line with the topic of this week's show. My guest this week is Adam Gitter. He is the kewaskum village administrator. My wife Shanna had alerted me to a post on social media about how the Kiwanis Pond might not open this summer if the village of Kewaskum cannot find qualified applicants to run the pond, and enough lifeguards to manage it. Thankfully, Adam agreed to come on the show and to discuss the village's needs, why the pond is in this position, and what we as a community can do to ensure it's open this summer. So with that, here's 15 minutes on Keeping the Kiwanis Pond Open with Adam Gitter on 15 minutes with Fuzz.

Adam, thanks for joining me today. So to do some introductions, for our listeners, you're the Kewaskum village administrator. Before that you were the West Bend economic development director. You also spent some time in the army, including serving in Afghanistan. In terms of your your current role. What does a village administrator do it for us?

Adam Gitter 1:58

Yes, I am the village administrator in kewaskum. Really simply put, I serve at the will of the board and the village president. So they set the vision. They tell me hey, here's the stuff we want to see happening in kewaskum. And then I carry it out with our team that we have over in to ask them.

Fuzz Martin 2:18

Sure. So including like public works, and Parks and Rec and that kind of stuff. Correct? All right. Very good. And so what do you like best about your role as the village administrator,

Adam Gitter 2:27

honestly, I really just enjoy working with the people, our staff, guests, I really enjoy working with them. And then also just being able to serve the village and the people of kewaskum. It's just really amazing to me that I have that opportunity.

Fuzz Martin 2:39

And then on the other side of that, what is the most challenging part of your job?

Adam Gitter 2:43

Well, the challenging part of my job, I guess it'd be, there's a lot of times where you got to break some bad news.

Fuzz Martin 2:48

Right? Sure, sure.

Adam Gitter 2:50

You got to talk about debt every once in a while or, you know, a project that hey, we really thought we could get done, but it's just, it's not gonna work out the way we want it to. But the challenges are also what makes the job exciting and fun. So yeah, everyday is a new adventure.

Fuzz Martin 3:02

Absolutely. You grew up here in kewaskum. Right? Correct. And so what is your favorite part of our village?

Adam Gitter 3:10

Well outside of the fact that I have my family and babysitters all around me at any given time. You know, I we're gonna get into talking about Kiwanis in a little bit, but I actually lived on Edgewood for a little for those that don't know, Edgewood runs right up along Kiwanis Park. And so my backyard was the Kiwanis Pond so I always liked that park. You know, other things I like about you asked them you know, the walkability.

Fuzz Martin 3:35

I get one for two and a quarter mile walk today with the puppy because it's 50 degrees out finally.

Adam Gitter 3:41

Yeah. I find it hard to get above two miles. It's just I let myself yeah.

Fuzz Martin 3:46

No, I find if you walk from from H all the way down to 28 and back that's, that'll get you two and a quarter miles, sir. Little tip from an Uncle Fuzz. So today we're going to talk about the pond, the Kiwanis Kewaskum Kiwanis Park Pond, and as a Kewaskum resident pretty much your entire life. I mean, again, you grew up with this in your backyard. You have some fond memories from the pond?

Adam Gitter 4:13

Yes, absolutely. You know, it'd be our sliding door going out of our kitchen opened up to it. So yeah, we would just go sprinting out and just run in, we'd have our season pass already. You know, jumping off the high dive and all sorts of fun.

Fuzz Martin 4:26

Yeah, goofing around being a kid, learning how to swim, that kind of stuff. As the guy who runs the operations of the village, or oversees that what is the most challenging part for the village about running the pool or the pond? Excuse me.

Adam Gitter 4:40

Yeah, there's a few challenges. A lot of people immediately want to turn to money. The pond runs at a deficit, we lose about just over $60,000 a year on the pond, but it's not what it's about. It's a service to the community. You know, there's a social equity component to it right? Not everybody has a pool in their backyard, right? And in government sometimes We have the responsibility to provide those services. Sure. But that's not holding us up here. We have the pond budgeted for. Yep. It's really staffing. Okay. So, in the past, we've had an individual named Butch, he ran the pond. If somebody said 35 years, I thought there's no way that's that many years. But it was a long time he ran the pond, and he just, he made a work. Yeah. And then last year, it was looking like it was gonna close down. And someone stepped up. Her name is Brianna, she stepped up. But she was young and finishing up her degree in college and Okay, it's time to move on to the next steps in life. So she helped us cover up that year. Yeah. But now we're just back in the same position we've been in in the past. So the challenge is, we got to find somebody to run the pond. And then after that, it's also you need lifeguards. Yeah. You need 15 to 20. Lifeguards just to keep the deep end open. Yeah. And, and also get the weekends open. Right. And that's what was wasn't happening last year. Also, we just didn't have the manpower then. We didn't have the weekends open. The band was closed every once in a while. Let's face it, the deep ends the most fun time you can absolutely yeah, for the diving boards and stuff, right?

Fuzz Martin 6:10

s in there. It says summer of:

Adam Gitter 7:48

hat sort of thing. So there's:

Fuzz Martin 8:17

This has been a struggle for some time. Now. What do you think the biggest challenge is hiring lifeguards? Because it's been open for however many decades where we struggle and find lifeguards now. The hard to find kids that want to work is that kind of the piece or

Adam Gitter 8:32

I don't believe that I actually kind of refuse to believe that as a philosophy, right? We're in the age of employees now more empowered than they ever were be. And I actually kind of appreciate that. We're competing with the likes of Kwik Trip and drive thru McDonald's and you'll see a $15 starting wage, that sort of thing. You know, it's there's a lot of great jobs out there for high school kids also. And there's a lot of demands being put on teenagers as well, as far as you know, you're going to be in sports, or you got the extracurriculars over there. And it's there's a lot taking up their time. And we're trying to ask them to carve out a piece of their time to work at the pond as well. Sure to a certain wage. We're looking for somebody that wants this pond to be a labor of love. Like it's only a few months out of the year. Yes, we need them to do their own recruitment on lifeguards, but if somebody's really gotta love it, that's going to step up kind of like Bush did, right? Like it was he wasn't doing this to get rich, right? It was the next person is not going to be doing that either. It's just it's a service to the community. And that's what we all do in the public sector. We we do what we do to serve the community. Yeah, so we're looking for the next person to want to do that with the pond.

Fuzz Martin 9:41

Is I guess hiring in a higher salary and increasing cost of admission an option. I know there's some concerns about taxes and budget number and then also keeping the pool accessible, right?

Adam Gitter 9:52

Yeah, that's exactly it. We don't want to raise the rates so significantly, that one we either price ourselves out of the market and then obviously then we don't have people showing up to the pond. But even then that's not my biggest concern. My biggest concern is that now there's an even higher barrier for entry for the family down the road that just needs a place to go during the summer. Right? I can't see that happening. But one of the things we also have to do is figure out a way to get everybody through swim lessons, you know, it's a big deal for kids to be able to learn to swim. There's lakes all around us. Yeah, we don't live in Arizona, we live within Wisconsin, you could read you're gonna be in water right now.

Fuzz Martin:

Exactly. But even still going to, you know, if you live in Kewaskum going to lessons at the YMCA, it's they're great lessons, and they've got great people doing it. But it's also difficult to get the kids in the car, get them to lessons, get them changed and dressed and exec and back to kiosk. And when it's, you know, if you're a parent, you've been there, that added step of a wet child getting strapped into a car seat is

Adam Gitter:

I remember being epicutaneous and doing my swim lessons as a little kid and it's rain or shine. And it's still that way. Yeah, in the freezing rain early in the morning, still doing your swim lessons. But you think back to those shivers. And you still you get nostalgic for it?

Fuzz Martin:

Right? I think it makes you bigger, stronger swimmer, you know, you don't have all the luxuries of warm water. For those who'd like to get involved with running the pond, what are some of the requirements? And what's that kind of pay range for that position.

Adam Gitter:

So the best way to get in touch is just go into the village website, and you'll see our posting for the pond supervisor and the lifeguard positions. Were also looking for a basket attendant, which was the most one you could have when you were a kid working at the pawn. Really just throw on some music and hanging out at the counter and take the cash as they

Fuzz Martin:

Oh, yeah, that always did look like a fun job. Right bracelets on people. And you're just sitting there listening. Yeah, listen to music. I see like the reading books.

Adam Gitter:

And it was there was always a book in someone's hands. And that one too, right?

Fuzz Martin:

That's a cush job, which sounds sounds fun. So I'll lifeguard applicants have to be 16 or older. Same with those basket attendants.

Adam Gitter:

Correct. I mean, we could do 15 years of age, I would actually encourage 15 year olds to apply and we'll go from there. I think there was some new legislation that was passed and allows for that to happen.

Fuzz Martin:

So alright, so wrapping up if the pool is closed this year, is it doomed for future years?

Adam Gitter:

No. Okay. I would never say that. It's doomed. Okay. But if it's close for this year, there's going to be funds that have already been set aside, and we're going to figure out what we do at that point. I know there is a group out there that's looking at a master plan of kiwannis. And it's just getting off the ground. Okay. Something kind of neat about the whole park itself for the park itself. Yeah. One of the neat things is in the past, when I first got into my role, maybe like seven months ago or so, I found this it was like a secret shopper thing that was done on kewaskum. And I think it was Watertown. So we sent residents there. And they sent residents here. And then they ranked all the features within Kewaskum. Do you want He's ranked at the top? Oh, sure. It's the gem of the community as they put it, right. So continuing to focus on what is already our gym, and making sure that it keeps its high status. And we still continue to provide great services within Kiwanis Park,

Fuzz Martin:

There's got to be some other solutions. Right. So what are some of the other solutions that have been talked about?

Adam Gitter:

While some of the other solutions that have been talked about what if we just went down the path of we do complete a master plan of Kiwanis? And then it comes back and says, Well, maybe you should put in a splash pad and some pickleball courts, right. pickleball courts are what I keep talking about, just because I'm a big fan, but lots of people like pickleball it's fantastic. And play some time. Soon as we get a man. But yeah, I mean, people talk about a splash pad. We've gotten some advice from some aquatic experts call them saying, hey, you know, you should really look at a splash pad. It's, it's really what a lot of communities are going towards. But that would mean yes, we're getting away from the pond. Right? You don't want to do that. But there are some other alternatives. I've brought those alternatives up with my wife just bounce my work off of her.

Fuzz Martin:

Sure. All right.

Adam Gitter:

I just had a parks committee meeting. Here's how it went. I told her about it. And I told her about the what about a splash pad? Do you think you'd use it? I have a seven year old so don't you think that'd be great if there were some picnic tables? She said, Is this your idea? I said why presented? And she said, "Careful, Gitter." And it wasn't in the sense that hey, you're gonna lose your job if you go do that it was here but to make your wife really upset if you get rid of the pond. So there's some challenges.

Fuzz Martin:

Yeah. Well, I mean, that goes to speak to how beloved the pond is by residents here. But also the challenge, frankly, is if you can't find anybody to run into can't be can't run. And that's where the hang up is right now.

Adam Gitter:

Yeah, we got to find those people keep asking me in general is a very outdoor recreational type of community or Gateway to the Kettle Moraine. Right. So exactly. The pond is just a reflection of that within our community. Yes, we're all outside. We're on the beach for swimming. We're doing all sorts of great stuff, but we're doing it outside.

Fuzz Martin:

Exactly. If you're listening and you know I have someone who would make a great lifeguard or bank, a great supervisor for the Kewaskum Kiwanis Pond. Go to the village website, and encourage that person or you if it's you listening to fill out an application. And Adam if there's somebody has more questions on the position or the role or the vision for the pond, who can they reach out to this call,

Adam Gitter:

Call the village hall, my number is 262-626-8484. You'll also find my email address on there but that just give us a call. Okay, well listen, anybody that's got some ideas or knows of somebody that can take it over.

Fuzz Martin:

If the pool doesn't open this year, what are the ramifications gonna be for you at home when they're gonna kick you out or make you sleep in a different room.

Adam Gitter:

Just make me follow everyone around and spritz them with bottled water.

Fuzz Martin:

Thank you for joining me, I appreciate you coming in. And best of luck. Thank you. Thanks again to Kewaskum Village administrator Adam Gitter for coming on the show at the last minute. I appreciate his insight and his knowledge of the situation with the Kiwanis pond. And again, if you know someone who is willing to take on managing the pond or becoming a lifeguard, please visit the village of chaos Club's website and fill out an application ASAP. Encourage your kids, their friends, your retired neighbor, et cetera, et cetera, to help keep the pond open. It's a shining star in our little village and a part of many residents, childhoods and we all hate to see it closed. I know I typically only cover positive things on the show. But I really think that this is an opportunity for someone to help create a positive situation out of one that needs a champion, and I'm hoping the reach of the show can make that happen. Until next week. Thanks for tuning in. Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcast Spotify and or Google podcasts. And I'll talk to you next Monday. Right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz

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