Easley donation

Melissa Easley and Murray Mayor Bob Rogers sign an agreement Monday for a $100,000 donation to go toward the renovations to the swimming pool in Central Park. Pictured standing, from left, are Murray City Council members Johnny Bohannon, Jeremy Bell and Dan Miller, Parks Maintenance Supervisor Steve Wilhelm, city council member Monty McCuiston, Parks Program Coordinator Jake Willis, Parks Director Ryan Yates and city council member Linda Cherry.

MURRAY – The City of Murray on Monday announced another $100,000 donation to go toward renovating the swimming pool at Central Park, this time from Murray’s Melissa Easley and her son, Don.

The city has received several large donations for the pool since recently signing an agreement with Calloway County government to take control of the park system.

“Mrs. Easley found out that we had taken over ownership of the park, and she and her son contacted me and told me how important the park was to the community and so forth, and they wanted to make a donation” Rogers said after a small group gathered Monday in City Hall to watch Easley and the mayor sign the agreement. “I said, ‘Sure,’ but when they said ‘make a donation,’ I had no idea the magnitude of the donation. She said they wanted to donate $100,000 to upgrade the park, particularly to go toward the pool. So we’re here today to sign an agreement that we’ve reached that she is donating half the money this year and half the money in 2022.”

“I want to thank the council and the mayor for having the vision to do this (work toward reopening the pool),” Easley said. “It’s a challenge and it took a lot of heart to do it. I’d like to explain why I’d like this money to go to the pool and to the park. Number one, we’re lucky to be living in an area that has four to five months of the year you can swim in the lake or in a pool (because of the weather). 

“We have two big lakes (in this area), but if you go to the lake and you get on a WaveRunner or a paddle boat or pontoon boat, or even walk across a path that goes by the lake, if you can’t tread water and you can’t swim, you might drown. So my big reason for this donation is that I want those children that don’t know how to swim to come to this pool and hopefully have lessons like we used to. (In the past) the Red Cross lessons taught children to swim, and they had life-saving lessons for people who wanted to be lifeguards.

“But not only that, swimming is just plain fun, and I want those kids to have fun. It brings diverse groups together, there’s family fun to it, it’s good exercise for cardio and it really brings our your endorphins.”

“I told Mrs. Easley that a donation of this magnitude would allow her to have naming rights for whatever she desired out at the pool,” Rogers added, “and she said, ‘No, we don’t want that. Give somebody else that opportunity.’ So I asked her, ‘What about a little recognition?’ She said, ‘Not unless it’s needed to encourage others to make a donation.’

“We talked last week, and we’re getting pretty close to what we think the bid is going to come in at, but we don’t know. We’re getting close because we’ve had four large donations, but we still encourage others in the community to participate.”