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|Paynesville Press - May 8, 2002|
Planning for a community swimming pool is taking shape
An ad hoc pool committee, which has met three times in the last nine months, intends to hold a public meeting this summer to set forth an initial pool proposal and to organize a committee to coordinate the efforts in building it.|
A consulting firm, USA Aquatics, will help, at no charge, to make an initial diagram that could be used to start discussion, according to Mayor Jeff Thompson, who has helped to spearhead the pool drive.
Right now, the ad hoc committee has recommended an outdoor pool with some features of an aquatic park. "From the meetings I've had," said Thompson, "the discussions have favored some sort of aquatic park."
"It needs to be more than a rectangular pool to attract usage," he added. "You have to be able to do more than swim in a pool. That leads us to the aquatic park."
A possible site for a community pool is the site for the new city well. That site - south of Highway 55, north of Spruce Street, and near the new residential development Project 55 - has been identified by the city as a park area, though it is undeveloped at present.
An outdoor pool needs to have three to five acres, and the well site is four acres, said Thompson.
This site would be cost efficient in two ways, he said. First, since it is in the city, it will have an ample supply of water and a large capacity for its waste water. Second, because the city already owns the well site, there will be no cost to acquire the land.
It also would be located in the city but near the township, he said. And it would be close to the proposed route for the Koronis Recreational Trail.
The ad hoc committee has also leaned toward an outdoor pool versus an indoor one, basically on account of the extra cost. Not only would an indoor pool be more expensive to build, it would require year-long maintenance, noted Thompson.
Right now, without a pool in the community, Community Education runs its swimming lessons through the indoor pool at Cold Spring. Swimming lessons at outdoor pools are also available in Belgrade and Watkins.
"We would love to be able to (offer swimming lessons) in town, where we wouldn't have to pay for transportation," said Community Educa-tion Director Matt Dickhausen.
Public input on the pool project and the formation of a permanent committee would be the aim of the public meeting this summer. Until then, Thompson has asked the city park committee to shepherd the project.
The city recently applied for a Department of Natural Resources grant (a 50-50 matching grant) to update its bathroom and shelter complex at Veteran's Memorial Park. Thompson hopes a plan for the pool project can be done by next year, so the community could submit that project to the DNR as a grant. (The grant deadline is March 31, 2003.)
The city has already started to budget for building a pool, noted Thompson. He expects the final local cost to be split between the city, township, and the community.
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