The Estherville Parks and Recreation Board agreed to the concept of supporting a winter swim team program at its regular meeting Monday.
The approval came on the contingency there are funds to pay for the program.
The concept for the swim team came from community members approaching the Regional Wellness Center about hosting the program.
Two years ago, local youth could swim with the Spirit Lake YMCA for a $50 fee. Eight swimmers took advantage of that opportunity.
Last year, YMCA changed its fee structure so that swim participants were required to be a YMCA member and still pay swim team fee.
Another change during the past two years is the formation of an independent swim team conference, which broke ties with the YMCA.
Some towns participating in the new league include Emmetsburg's Smith Wellness Center, Fort Dodge, Carroll, Webster City and Perry.
These centers offer swim meets from November through February and culminate with a state meet in late February.
Emmetsburg has approximately 75 swimmers ranging in age from 4-18 with the majority of participants in the 4-10 year-old group.
The Estherville Parks and Recreation Department has long supported a summer swim team program. There is no fee for that program.
However the draft proposal presented to the Parks and Recreation Board is a partnership with the RWC to offer the program.
Essentially, it would be a city recreation program facilitated by the RWC. By partnering, the program would me made available to all students in Estherville, no matter their financial situation or whether they are an RWC member or not.
The city would provide monetary assistance for the program.
The eventual goal of the program is to have 75-plus participants. Sixth-five youth took part in the summer swim team program in 2012.
While it may take a year or two to build to that goal, it is believed the interest in participating is strong in Estherville as long as costs do not become prohibitive.
Since the goal is to make the program to all interested participates, the fee of $40 is proposed.
A 25 percent discount would be offered for those on the school "reduced" lunch program and a 50 percent discount for those on the school "free" lunch program.
A system will be worked out with families with multiple children in the program to make it affordable.
The fee would include use of the RWC pool during the swim season, both for organized practices and individual swimming for non-members of the RWC.
The estimated cost for the city is just over $4,000.
The Parks and Recreation Board gave its approval to the proposal and city council will review it next.