“I was very fortunate to spend so much time at the pool growing up. I loved it. I had a great childhood.”
For generations, Forest Park Aquatic Center (FPAC) has played an important role in the lives of many Hamilton County families. Lifelong Noblesville resident Kelli Busby White spent her entire childhood growing up at FPAC. Her father, Terry Busby, managed the pool for 25 years while serving as the Hamilton County Park Superintendent from 1968 to the early 1990s.
“I grew up around the pool all my life,” says Busby White. “I was practically raised in the water.”
Right out of college, Terry began working as a PE teacher and swim coach for Noblesville High School. He was also asked to take on the role of Hamilton County Park Superintendent, through which he was responsible for running both FPAC and Morse Beach.
“I don’t think many people realize how much work it takes to run a pool,” shares Busby White. “My father both managed and maintained the pool, so he was out there all the time.”
Busby White attended swim practice at FPAC every day while her father coached. Once she became old enough, she began lifeguarding at the pool as well. Her favorite memories are of meeting professional swimmers and divers from around the country who would come to train at the pool—right in her own hometown.
Busby White also recalls jumping off the high diving platforms at a very young age when they were still open for public use. “Back then, the diving team used to only practice in the mornings and evenings,” recalls BusbyWhite. “So, during adult swim, lifeguards would go up to the platforms and allow people to jump off. It was a lot of fun.”
The FPAC has always been a gathering place for the community and for those just traveling through. Busby White remembers working night shifts as a lifeguard back when her father allowed the pool to remain open for 24 hours a day while the Grateful Dead toured in the area.“Many people camped out at Forest Park while the Grateful Dead were touring,” says BusbyWhite. “People would come to swim at the pool all night long. It was pretty cool.”
As one of the few public pools around during her childhood, Busby White explains that it attracted a diverse population of people. Dealing with the public every day as both a swimmer and worker at FPAC helped prepare Busby White for her current career as a PE teacher at Stony Creek Elementary.
“The pool prepared me for teaching as I quickly learned how to control various situations,” says Busby White. “It taught me how to multitask, how to maintain discipline in the classroom, and how to keep people safe.”
Busby White’s experience growing up at FPAC has stuck with her to this day. While she does not spend as much time there as she used to, she explains that the pool is still very much a part of who she is. “I love anything water,” shares Busby White. “It is the first thing I go to for relaxation. I made sure my kids grew up respecting the water, too.”
While FPAC has seen many changes and improvements over the years, one thing has remained the same: It still has a special and valued connection to the community and serves as a lasting impact on the families who have spent their time there. It is truly a Noblesville tradition.
“FPAC is a very important part of Noblesville history,” says Busby White. “It is a very special place with community amenities that most other outdoor pools do not have to offer. People don’t understand how lucky we are to have that right in our backyard.”