SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A pool holds up to 30 swimmers at one time but its presence in the small western South Dakota town of Edgemont is much larger.

“It’s teeny,” Katie Shaw said of the 30-by-60-foot pool. “It’s probably not a money maker but it’s something the city does for the kids. A lot of kids have gone through there.”

“It is amazing to have a swimming pool,” said Kelsey Trotter. What may be as amazing is that a branch of the YMCA is located in the town of less than 1,000. The YCMA manages the pool for the city and Trotter is the director of the YMCA in Edgemont.

The story of the pool and the movement that led to a branch of the YMCA being located in Edgemont is an unusual one.

“Actually the pool was at one of the motels,” said Carl Shaw. “The motel owner, Franklin Manke, wanted to get rid of it so he sold it to the city.”

“It was kind of separated from the motel,” Manke said. “It wasn’t where you could watch it from the main motel office.”

Manke said he wanted to reduce some responsibilities so he decided to sell the pool to the city of Edgemont.

Shaw and Manke figured the pool was sold back in 1973 or 1974. She was one of the first lifeguards along with her friend Kris Covel.

“I was a lifeguard and I gave swimming lessons,” Shaw said.

The city operated the pool until the early 2000s until a group of Edgemont residents successfully recruited a YMCA branch to the city, Trotter said.

The group was interested in developing sports and other programs in the city, Trotter said. The group formed a required board of trustees of at least 20 members.

“(Residents) were willing to make a commitment,” Trotter said.

The group obtained a soccer program and other activities such as a day camp. The Y partnership also provided the city with a manager of the public pool.

Four lifeguards will be working at the pool this summer when the pool is open Monday through Saturday.

Swimming lessons will be offered in the evenings after the unheated pool water warms up, Trotter said.

Shaw estimated she taught lessons to 15 to 20 kids each summer more than 30 years ago.

Trotter said about 30 to 50 kids will take lessons each summer.

“We have kids that come in from Nebraska, Hot Springs; it’s not just Edgemont kids,” Trotter said.

The YMCA nationally said it teaches about 1 million kids water safety and swimming skills each year.

For many kids, a trip to the pool is a regular part of a summer day. Industry websites estimate the U.S. has about 309,000 public swimming pools.

“Most people remember those summer days at the local swimming pool, and they remain a vital part of city life. Many cities and towns have worked hard to create water parks and amusements for the local youth, working with citizen groups to raise funding,” Yvonne Taylor, the executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League said in an email to KELOLAND News.

It’s been difficult for some cities, including Sioux Falls, to find enough staff to cover pools this summer and the prior summer. Sioux Falls officials said they had enough staff to open all seven outdoor pools including wading and spray parks this summer.

“We do know that staffing and finding life guards is a major challenge, especially this year, and hope it hasn’t lead to pools unable to be open so this generation can have those same memories!” Taylor said.

The plan for the Edgemont pool is to be open through mid-August, Trotter said.