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Pool project backstrokes due to dollar inflow issues

Parks board talks money savings as new officers take helm

July 15, 2020
By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The Estherville Parks & Rec board met Monday evening to address pages of possible money savings on the municipal pool project, after fundraising was put on hold due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board elected Joan Heckard as chair, taking over from retired chair Wayne King, with Gary Phillips continuing as vice-chair and Laurel Hash as secretary.

City administrator Penny Clayton said, "At some point we have to make some changes to save some money, if we really intend to save money."

The dicey situation lies in the fact that the city has no way to look at local option sales & service tax (LOSST) collections that will be announced in mid-August to see if the Excel Estherville board is likely to be able to keep their pledge of $100,000 per year for five years and other entities will be able to keep their pledges toward the $700,000 in auxiliary expenses not covered by the bond issue passed in the city August 6, 2019.

Once the LOSST revenue is assessed, there is about a two-week turnaround to show enough progress in fundraising to land an Enhance Iowa grant up to $200,000 from the Vision Iowa board. Enhance Iowa is explicit in stating they wish to be the last dollars in to a project, making up-front fundraising vital.

The city will be scheduled to make a virtual presentation to Enhance Iowa in late August to nail down specifics.

"We have to accomplish more fundraising in a short period of time," Clayton said.

Among the money-saving suggestions the board reviewed:

The contractor suggested removing completion penalties from the contract.

"I said no. We need this to be completed on time," Clayton said.

The engineer indicated because the area south of the Regional Wellness Center where the pool will be located has relatively stable ground soils, they feel comfortable cutting soil testing in half without affecting the quality of the results.

Eliminating the construction trailer and having construction meetings inside the RWC would save money.

Grading the site differently from what is in the current specifications and eliminating the retaining wall around the tank and having one tank instead of two would have no effect on user experience, Clayton said.

Changing the parking lot to a straight approach with a wider opening instead of a loop and asking employees to park in a different area from patrons would have a cost savings, Clayton said.

Board member Bob Jensen asked, "Why put in the extra expense?"

The board considered eliminating the snowguards on the roof, due to the pool not being in use during months in which there would be snowfall.

The stonework on the building could be in standard light grey instead of considering other stone colored, saving over $5,000, Clayton said.

The plank siding for the top portion of the bathhouse building could be painted in the field instead of arriving factory-painted, for a saving of over $4,000.

The board considered using liquid chlorine instead of gas. The initial savings would be $16,000, but the extra expense of liquid, including gearing up staff with personal protective equipment and respirators, would add up to reduce the actual savings over time.

Stationary lifeguard chairs cost $3,500 while portable chairs cost $800 and may have more versatility with the varied uses of the pool, Clayton said. The portable chairs still have a mechanism to lock in place at their location so they don't slide around.

The eyewash station could run only cold water instead of cold and warm water at a savings from the extra water line.

$10,000 could be saved by putting a ramp next to the building instead of two ways for mechanical.

Mounting toilets through the floor instead of the wall saves funds while still having mechanical for the toilets behind the bathhouse wall.

The board also considered roofing options and other components to possibly save money on the project while maintaining the quality of the pool they pitched to the community.

The next meeting of the Estherville Parks & Recreation board is Tuesday, August 10 at 5:30 p.m in the council chambers of city hall.



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