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Parks & Recreation Board Diving in to pool details

Board discusses pool agreement for 2019 and progress on the new municipal outdoor pool

February 14, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Last week, Parks & Rec board members Joan Heckard and Laurel Hash, and city administrator Penny Clayton met with Regional Wellness Center director Bob Grems about an agreement for use of the RWC pool for municipal swimmers in 2019.

In 2018, the city opened its swim season June 19, vowing to have an operational pool schedule in order to keep its lifeguard staff employed. With staffing costs, that endeavor cost $20,000.

The pool census indicated some swimming activity at the RWC on summer weekends in 2018.

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In June, the census showed an average of 23 swimmers on Saturdays and 47 on Sundays. In July there were 26 swimmers on average both Saturday and Sunday. IN August, there were 17 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday, not counting the free swim for Sweet Corn Days, to which 48 swimmers showed up.

This is compared to an average of 50 weekday swimmers in June, 44 in July, and 37 in August.

The current proposal from the city would include a subsidy paid to the RWC of $7,500 for the summer. The RWC pool would be open for its regular hours, and the RWC would take care of staffing.

Grems would calculate whether the $7,500 would work for the RWC to expand its lifeguard coverage and pay its expenses for increased use of its pool.

Hash said the Fairmont, Armstrong and Graettinger pools benefited more than the RWC for the closure last year of the Estherville municipal pool.

Board member Bob Jensen said, "This proves we need an outdoor pool."

The RWC has begun a fundraising campaign for a new splash pad on its property. The splash pad would be located adjacent to the new municipal outdoor pool.

The board also addressed the pool project, reviewing version 34 of the pool. The latest configuration utilizes the pool vessel design that was previously presented by the now-dissolved pool committee, which worked for a year on designing a pool that was engaging and cost-effective, and evaluating sites for the pool.

Dave Burbach of Burbach Aquatics, Inc., said 34 is near the top number of iterations of all the pools his company has built.

"It is a quality design, allowing for compartmentalizing and multiple uses," Burbach said.

The city must make a decision about the placement and accoutrements of the bathhouse, Clayton said.

Heckard, who served on the pool committee, said individual bath stalls are a very important element to pool users.

Burbach said the current bathhouse specs call for an individual stall that meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and the rest of the showerheads in each of the men's and women's sides to be open.

The board then addressed the setback of the pool gate from the planned location for the splash pad, and ultimately moved the pool back from 26 feet to 50 feet behind the splash pad to allow for green space to gather between the two sites.

Clayton presented a timeline for approving the new outdoor municipal pool.

The Parks & Rec board will approve the concept at its March meeting, scheduled for March 25 at 5:30 p.m.. In April, the board will roll out the concept for approval by the Estherville City Council. In May, the bond referendum language must be ready and published in order to hold an August city referendum.

In other business, Clayton said Mimi Wagner from Iowa State University is planning to bring 27 students Monday, Feb. 18 to Estherville to visit about water quality, storm runoff, and natural resources. The activities will start at 1:30 p.m.

The board also reviewed its annual report and rules of procedure.



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