Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - September 5, 2001

Township joins joint effort to study pool

By Michael Jacobson

The need for the community to have a pool was glaringly obvious to Brad Skoglund this summer. At baseball tournaments, Skoglund and his wife, had to send interested youngsters out of town to swim in pools in Belgrade or Watkins when they had no interest in going to the lake.

"I started thinking, 'What do we have for youth to do?'" recalled Skoglund. "It broke our hearts to send them to another town."

Skoglund joined with Kyle Nehowig to push to improve the community's recreational opportunities for kids. Their effort has generated interest in both the city and prompted the formation of a joint city-township committee to investigate a pool.

In Paynesville, the model has been to let the school handle recreation facilities, but Nehowig pointed out that this is an anomaly. In most places, other local governments provide recreation facilities like city ball fields, swimming pools, et cetera. If the two entities could combine to build an airport, they should be able to help with recreation, Nehowig added, because of the greater usage by the public.

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors agreed to participate in a joint city-township committee after meeting with the two men and members of the city's park committee on Monday, Aug. 25. Supervisor John Atwood and clerk Don Wiese were appointed to serve on the committee.

Skoglund, a township resident, and Nehowig, a city resident, started by approaching the city park committee about the need in the community in July. Both Skoglund and Nehowig work and coach in the Paynesville school system, but approached the city and township as private citizens to see if these governmental entities had any interest in this area.

The men, the city park committee, and the township board agreed that the school needed to be approached about joining the push for a pool. With the financial situation at the school, though, the district's interest or ability to participate was not known.

Park committee members will take the joint committee proposal back to the city council, which could then appoint members to represent the city. Both Skoglund and Nehowig expressed willingness to serve on the committee.

Skoglund's and Nehowig's ideas range from a pool and more ball parks to a field house that would house multiple gym floors.

The agreement last week favored starting small with one project and seeing where city-township cooperation might lead as far as recreational projects. The committee would be charged with doing a feasibility study: researching pools, looking at the respective benefits and drawbacks of indoor and outdoor pools, and looking at prospective sites.

One possibility would be next to the ice arena (where heat from the ice-making equipment could be used to heat the water in the pool). Another would be the existing airport hangar site, which the city will have to develop once a new runway and hangar are built.

The city and township have also had discussions about having more direct township involvement in Veteran's Memorial Park, the city beach on Lake Koronis that is located in the township. (The township does participate financially, $4,000 per year, in supporting the park.)

The city park committee told the township that while they could support a joint committee to oversee the park they would not be in favor of the city giving up all its say there.

Regarding having lifeguards or not at the city beach, Ron Mergen, the city's public works director and a member of the city park committee, said the feedback from the public so far has indicated interest in having them. "I don't think the community wants to go without lifeguards," he said. "The general response is they want lifeguards."

Joint city-township efforts in recreation could eventually lead to a permanent committee to oversee activities in both entities. "There's no borderline with kids," noted Atwood.

When the pedestrian trail around Lake Koronis becomes a reality, it would be another great candidate for a joint committee.

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community