3/6/2014 2:02:00 PM CF votes "no" on new pool; 343-114
by Ken Haggerty
City of Cannon Falls voters voted no on a March 3 referendum to borrow up to $4.25 million to build a new aquatic center.
The 343 "No" votes totaled 75% of the total ballots cast. Yes votes were 114.
Voter turnout was at about 19% with 457 voters turning out on a cold and snowy Monday. Cannon Falls had 2,425 registered voters prior to Monday. There were 27 new registrations on Monday.
The city council voted in August of 2013 to hire a consultant for up to $8,000 and to form a committee to do a feasibility study and come up with a proposal on what to do with the city pool.
Built in 1969, the pool is expected to need extensive maintenance costs in the coming years and is in need of updates to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The consultant and the committee came back to the Council with a recommendation to build new rather than fix the old pool. The new $4 million construction project they recommended is described as a full "aquatics center" with two separate bodies of water (including a zero depth entrance pool), multiple giant slides and splash toys, and a new concessions area and bathhouse, among other amenities
Acting city administrator Lanell Endres said the Public Works committee will have to meet and bring forth a recommendation to the council on what to do next with the pool. Former administrator Aaron Reeves said in August, 2013, when the new pool process was first initiated, that there was about $100,000 in immediate maintenance costs coming up in the next few years for the pool (painting, equipment, parking lot, other).
That estimate did not include addressing any ADA issues or any restorative or corrective pool structure work. The consultant identified about $1.8 million in costs to make all needed structural and mechanical updates and to meet ADA requirements.