New municipal pool on deck for 2022

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by Amy H. Peterson

Staff Writer

As a June heat wave continues in the Estherville area, it’s an appealing notion to jump into a cool, clear swimming pool. Estherville swimmers move into the third summer without a public outdoor pool. Work continues at the site south of the Regional Wellness Center, and Sande Construction of Humboldt is on track to complete the project before the anticipated opening date of Memorial Day Weekend, 2022.

Sande has completed multiple pool projects, including Humboldt, Eagle Grove, Pocahontas and Algona in northern Iowa, and is doing the work on the pool vessel, the mechanical works and the bathhouse/ concessions station.

The Estherville Parks & Rec Board has been hard at work choosing colors for the accoutrements that will make the pool fun, including water features down to the paint color for the mechanical building and pool house. The theme is Northwoods, and the pool campus will reflect that in greens and natural tones.

City administrator Penny Clayton said in November, 2018 about the project, “The pool will be a fantastic recreational opportunity for our citizens, and for those who visit us and use our recreational facilities.”

Pools are expensive to operate. The old municipal pool lost up to $60,000 per summer, and Clayton has said keeping a lid on expenses to something less than that for the new pool would be ideal. For most communities, a municipal pool is a service provided, not a profit center.

At Monday night’s council meeting, the city council approved pay application #3 in the amount of $337,679.64 from Sande Construction. The money is being paid from a bond issue passed August 6, 2019, and funds raised from a grant from Enhance Iowa, a five-year pledge from Excel Estherville, and donations from Special Olympics-Emmet County, Employee’s Credit Union, and other private sources. The pandemic scuttled a capital campaign rollout. Despite a few setbacks, city residents passed the pool bond with 69 percent. Sixty percent was required for the bond referendum to pass.

A pool committee worked for two years developing the core of the pool’s design before dissolving. The project generated 35 versions of the pool design. At number 34, the late Dave Burbach of Burbach Aquatics, the original consultant, said that number was near the top number of iterations of any pool project his company had completed.

Despite a few setbacks, city residents passed the pool bond with 69 percent. Sixty percent was required for the bond referendum to pass.

The passage of the pool bond means the pool will not raise taxes on city residents.

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