by Grand Forks Herald
July 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm in Grand Forks Herald
The East Grand Forks City Council decided to take the plunge and approve a $1.5 million bid to renovate the city’s nearly 49-year-old outdoor swimming pool. Continue Reading
Tags: East Grand Forks, East Grand Forks City Council, GF and EGF, swimming pool, updates 33 Comments »
Just to clarify, SOP is willing to work with the council on a complete renovation project, not on continually bandaging the 49 year old pool. If the mayor vetoes this bid, we want a timeline of when the next bidding process will begin. If we have to wait for awhile to get the best pool for the money, that would make sense. What doesn’t make sense is wasting money every year just to get the pool usable (pass inspection w/the state) for one season and having no plan to fully renovate or replace it.
I disagree with Marc DeMers’ statement: “We’d be spending this amount of money and getting the same pool we have now.” The only thing the same about the pool would essentially be its footprint. Everything else would be new and would last for 25-30 years without wasting money on “band-aids”.
Now don’t go screaming at me that I’m not thinking about what this would cost the taxpayers. I’m not for major tax increases to fix the pool, however, I am for a PLAN. If a group like SOP would’ve come forward 10-15 years ago to support the pool, we may have been able to get the city to plan for it at that time and think of the money that could’ve been raised. The pool was in tough shape at that time, but we have allowed the city leaders to put it on the back burner time and time again.
I am not suggesting that they should instantly rebuild this pool, however, I am suggesting that the city needs a push to begin a feasible plan. That is what SOP is backing. I hope that people will come to our meeting at the EGF Library to see what has already been done in terms of setting up this organization and to add their ideas. But the goal is to get the city to make a plan. Our citizens’ group isn’t going to “jump” first. The city needs to take the leap and make a plan and then we will definitely make a “splash” with our support.
Like or Dislike: 19 5
You won this one. Congratulations! Yea, swimming!
Like or Dislike: 12 5
Actually, if you read the whole article, the mayor plans to veto this at the council meeting next Tuesday night. However, that doesn’t mean the renovations are off. If the mayor does veto this as planned, they say they will rebid the project. However, there has not been a timeline established for that. I’m hoping that the council will not wait to seek new bids until after the November elections. That would be playing politics with the pool.
Like or Dislike: 13 5
So basically the “Renovation” is more like tearing down the old and puttting up all new special concrete (That is shot through a hose at the side walls and doesn’t slide down like cement would…Worked on one years ago….Interesting construction). That makes more sense that what I thought they were talking about which was just putting a new layer all over the old layer somehow (I haven’t done construction for year…I thought maybe they had a new way of doing things)
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Tundra, the way I understand this is that the current concrete including the decking will be demolished and have all new concrete and new filtration system. Basically the guts of the pool will be new. The waterslide and lifeguard chairs will stay. The bath house will stay, but will be completely gutted. This is what the current project entails. However, after the probable veto, there may be changes made to that project. We are inviting the pool committee members of the city council to our next meeting August 7 – 6:30 pm.
Like or Dislike: 3 1
Since the pool isn’t in danger of closing in the next year or two, I think it is wise to add the band-aids to the pool now ans push the project back one year. That will give city leaders and the community group time to look at alternative funding sources and come up with a reasonable plan to be bid. I don’t think rushing at this point is going to do any good. There are many funding sources that the park/rec manager should have explored before presenting the pool rehab project to the council (and now the community group can be involved), for example has anyone looked to to get energy efficiency grants from MN-CERTS ( http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/rfp ) for installing more efficient pumps, lighting , etc. – the hockey arenas are getting money from there.
Also going forward, after the pool project is completed, the community group needs to put pressure on the City make sure the depreciation of the pool is put into reserve so we don’t run into this situation again.
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I agree with many of your assertions, however, we don’t need to keep throwing money away band-aids without having a PLAN in place first. These grants that you are talking about don’t happen overnight. The city must have a plan in place and a bid accepted before we can apply for the kinds of grants you are talking about. We can wait for a year, as you say, to start the project, but we can’t wait for YEARS. In order to explore the possibilities that you talk about above, we need a timeline set by the city of when they are going to begin the rebidding process.
If they wait until after the November elections, we will miss out on applying for grants this year that we are already looking at. Many grants are only awarded once a year. Time IS of the essence, but I wouldn’t say we are “rushing into” anything by asking for a timeline. Please come to the SOP meeting tomorrow night at the Campbell Library at 6:00 to learn of developments with the Community Foundation of GF/EGF/Region.
I’m not saying wait years, just plan on construction starting one year later than currently planned. Take a look at the actual project bid document, start redlining items and change other specs as necessary (don’t rush this), and then rebid and solidify funding sources. Other communities in the area have build pools entirely on state, federal, and private grants, with little local matching required. Not sure of specifics of those (I think some were flood and other disaster recovery), but I think we should be able to get at least 50% funding from non-City (i.e. local tax) sources, leaving much more reasonable debt service.
Maybe we can process sewage into swimming pool water, and make it part of the waste water solution, solving two issues EGF is facing I say it jokingly, but if an engineer has such a solution, bring it forward.
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I really agree with this statement you made:
“Also going forward, after the pool project is completed, the community group needs to put pressure on the City make sure the depreciation of the pool is put into reserve so we don’t run into this situation again.”
You really need to join our group!! Or have you already??:)
Like or Dislike: 9 5
The mayor better veto this! 1.5 million on a 7 percent tax increase is a poor plan. There are roads in poor shape that need fixing before a luxary is paid for. Egf should also look into attraction buisnesses to deserted locations! Egf has a lot bigger problems than a 1.5 million dollar pool! If you pool supporters can find private funding and grants for this plan I can support it but I cannot support a plan that uses our tax money to restore a pool when there are 2 outdoor pools across the river!
Like or Dislike: 7 16
Well ron, that’s just what we are trying to do. I am not in favor of a big tax hike (I own a home in EGF), however, the city has a responsibility to fund part of this project. They can’t sit back and wait to see how much money we (SOP) raise. Grants don’t work like that. The Foundations that provide these grants (like Bremer) want to see the community working together, which means the city and citizens’ groups.
The city has to develop the plan (which includes accepting a bid) before we can apply for these. So by all means, go ahead Mayor Stauss and veto this bid. However, DON’T wait until after the elections to try to get new bids or put a new plan together. Waiting too long and not planning is what got us into this mess.
Bus kids to gf sounds like a better plan
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Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.
Melody, your “plan” isn’t much if a plan yet. Ask the city council for another vote and bids when you have an actual plan of what specific grants AND private funding you are going to use. Don’t push this pool through the system as fast as you can because these grants and private funding will still be available. Pushing it through will only result in my tax money being wasted on a luxary and not the neccesities.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 4 15
Why the malice in your writing ron? I’m not trying to push anything through. I’m trying to make sure there is a plan and this doesn’t get put on the back burner again. It is not the responsibility of this group to make the plan. We can add to the discussion and support it with all we’ve got, but the bottom line is that this pool belongs to the city. If you want the group to go in a certain direction, please come to the meeting tomorrow. You might be surprised to know we want all voices heard.
Like or Dislike: 16 4
ron, I am not from EGF, but I’d like to comment on your statement that a swimming pool is a luxury. When we moved to our town many years ago, we checked out things like the school, golf course, health facilities, and the pool. We were impressed. If our town had not had a pool for our children…and now our grandchildren…we wouldn’t have moved here. We aren’t living in the 1800s anymore. I’ll bet your car and your home are air conditioned. The first two new vehicles I bought didn’t have AC. I thought it was a luxury I could do without. Now I can now longer do without it. A swimming pool is a necessary part of the infrastructure that will attract families with children or couples planning to have children. If you want a city that has no children, keep on fighting what you might think is the good fight. If you win, EGF will lose.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 5
Glenn>I agree! An outdoor community swimming pool benefits this town and it’s citizens in so many ways. My two boys spend hours a day each summer there. While my husband and I are at work it is nice to know that our kids are outside doing something healthy, physical, and not at home sitting in front of the xbox, tv, or computer. Our children need healthy, affordable options for activities during their ‘down’ time in the summer. I think I can safely say that most parents work and transporting kids across town during working hours is not an option. Biking (which again is another healthy benefit) daily to the local swimming pool is ideal. There are many sporting activities available during the summer but not all kids are into team sports. I just really believe that the entire community is stronger when our kids have a broad spectrum of postitive activities that keep them out of trouble and active.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 18 0
Agreed. My kids are young yet, so we’ve only brought them to the baby pool a few times, but when they’re olde,r I hope the pool is there for them, just like it was for me when I was younger. I have many fond memories of spending hours a day there as a kid and always thought that my kids would have the same opportunity.
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Come on Ron…You know the old saying….”Idle hands and minds bring trouble” Especially with kids in the summer…..Maybe some of those idle hands that have no pool will find the side of your house as being just right for painting a masterpiece……I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid in the summer I had a hell of a lot of energy to burn off, and swimming did just that….I still found time to get into trouble, but it would have been so much more had I less to do….And besides…that small tax spread out wont hardly be noticed by you rich guys anyway……..
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Thanks for weighing in Tundra. We just had an SOP meeting last night and Scott Huizenga from the city was gracious enough to attend and answer questions. Basically, it is very likely that the mayor is going to veto the renovation as it stands. However, that is not necessarily bad news. There may be changes to the plan that are more cost effective, there could be a new plan altogether, or they may just rebid the current plan. In any event, everyone that I’ve talked to involved with this wants to be responsible with tax payer money and get the best pool possible for EGF without a huge tax increase. So now ron and people like him don’t have to get their swimsuits all in knots worrying about a huge increase.
Whatever the scenario, SOP just wants a plan developed in a timely manner so we can assure those who are devoting time and money to fund raising that it will go toward a pool project in the near future, not just have monies sitting in an account for years with no purpose.
Like or Dislike: 5 1
Glenn, our community has 2 outdoor pools already. I believe egf and grand forks are 1 community not 2 seperate cities! A pool is not and will never be near the top of my list when choosing a community to live on. I believe education, after school programs, and sport and art programs attract more families than a pool. I
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If it comes down to an either or situation then for sure education would always come first. You know my stand on building a stadium at a time when your state has been cutting so much in education. I don’t think that’s the situation here though. I also think that items like a swimming pool does add to the over well health of a community. Pools, skating rinks, gyms, parks (We have lots and lots of parks now days), bike/walking paths, and such all add to the over all health to the community. The more opporunities people of all ages have to get into activities the better all the way around. This is why I’m often for such items proposed for the GF side even though it might cost me a little more, and I’ll most likely not have a personal use of it……It’s just good for the community…And over the years and after travelling all over this country many times over…I’ve really come to appreciate this big GF, EGF community…..Don’t really desire to be anywhere else…..On the other hand ..I guess I’m often everywhere else so maybe it’s easier for me to enjoy being back here than others might…
If this was a case of money for a pool or money for the schools, then hands down I’m in favor of the school. I am a teacher in EGF and school is my top priority. However, the city has no say in school funding. The school district is a separate entity and is under the authority of the school board. The city, however, does have a responsibility to its own projects and buildings. They need to put a plan in place of how to take care of these projects without raising taxes. Our group is simply trying to help.
Cece and tundra I am not some rich old grumpy guy who doesn’t want children in his community. I am all for programs that keep children being productive and out of trouble. My issue is the location of the current pool and putting that much money into something just as a renovation. In the current location if your child can get to it by bike they can also get to riverside (I believe that’s its name) by taking the pedestrian bridge just down the greenway. If your going to spend that much money why not relocate it to a more centralized location. Than everyone in gf and egf has acess to a community pool.
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I disagree. Riverside would take quite a bit longer to walk/bike to than the EGF pool. But I’m curious, where would you put a new pool? I always thought the current location is pretty central in EGF.
I would charge EGF kids extra since their parents are too cheap to fix their own pool after GF decided to spend money on theirs.
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I see plenty of projects driving around town that need as urgent attention. Sidewalks and streets need repair. I would also like to see incentives for buisness to fill empty store fronts all over egf (except for fantasys I personally would like to see that one go away. I don’t see any benefit for the community on that one). I am just concerned where my tax dollars are going and don’t want a rush that will hike them up.
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ron – agreed! Glad we have some common ground:)
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BTW – I did click “like” on your entry. I am all for planning so we don’t have these last minute tax hikes. But I still believe the pool is important to our community and that we need to plan to get these grants and work these fund raisers. Who wants to raise funds or donate when they don’t even know what the plan is?
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Dear Penthouse: I never thought these letters were true juntil one time when…………Whoops! Wrong place….I guess that talk about Fantasies confused me……
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I agree 100%
Well thank you Ron…..See what happens when you don’t hit “Reply?”
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It’s over 90 nearly every day and we have to argue about a pool renovation? It’s a good investment for children and families. Since there are no suitable lakes in the area a pool is the only place for people to cool of during the hot summer. This seems like a no brainer to me. Give the kids a place to have fun and spend constructive time outdoors.
Thanks John…my sentiments exactly. This is bigger than a pool issue. It is a community issue. The city of Larimore can go after an Otto Bremer Foundation Grant for $200,000 and get it. Why can’t East Grand Forks (which is considerably larger than Larimore) go after the same thing? Plus, we are not so exclusive as Jack Welch would like GF to be. We welcome GF residents to come over to Sherlock Forest Playground. We also welcome them to the pool which is right next door without paying more than EGF residents!
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