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Paynesville Press - November 26, 2003

Township board proposes covering a third of pool costs

By Peter Jacobson and Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Township Board of Supervisors agreed that the township should consider contributing up to $400,000 towards the building of a community pool.

The board voted on this position at their meeting on Monday, Nov. 17. The township proposal would cover roughly a third of the capital costs of the proposed aquatic park ($500,000 with interest). The basic construction cost of the proposed aquatic park is just over $1.2 million, though alternate features could push the cost over $1.35 million.

The township would also agree to cover a third of the maintenance costs for the aquatic park.

Township participation is contingent on two things. First, both the city and township would need to pass bond issues, with local voters getting a chance to approve or deny the project, for the funds needed for construction. Second, the city would need to agree to become a partner in the Koronis Civic Arena, currently owned solely by the township, sharing all maintenance costs.

The township had a tentative agreement with the city for shared maintenance at the Koronis Civic Arena, but this agreement died when the city terminated the airport agreement in 2002, citing an inability to cooperate on the issue and proceeded to build the new airport with MnDOT.

Board chairman Don Pietsch said he felt the township needed to have shared maintenance with the city for the arena before joining the pool project. "We already have a community recreational facility that we pay 100 percent of the maintenance," said Pietsch. "I don't want to enter into another recreational facility agreement and share 33 percent in maintenance and not have the arena maintenance agreed upon."

The township proposal includes paying $400,000 in capitol contribution (up to $500,000, including interest), covering a third of pool maintenance, sharing the maintenance of the arena 50-50 with the city, and having both city and township voters pass bond issues approving the pool project.

After a year of work, an ad hoc pool community, with city and township members, has completed a feasibility study. They identified an aquatic park as the best alternative for the community.

The current proposal is for a 6,525 sq. ft., outdoor aquatic park with two pools including a six-lane lap pool, a diving well and diving board, a drop slide and two water slides, a wading and splash area, and a bathhouse with lockerrooms and concessions. Proposed cost of the aquatic park is $1,231,400 with $150,200 in alternate features.

The Paynesville Area School District has tentatively agreed to allow its property between the student parking lot at PAHS and the armory to be used for a pool. But the school wants an agreement over sharing maintenance costs at the high school parking lot, which would be used for the pool, and over compensation for creating new practice fields elsewhere on school property to replace the area where the pool would be located, which is currently used for athletic practices and for physical education classes.

Also, the city and township are discussing a joint powers agreement to operate a community pool.

Supervisor Pat Meagher and clerk Don Wiese are the township's representatives on the aquatic pool joint committee. Mayor Jeff Thompson and city council member Dennis Zimmerman represent the city.

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