4/25/2014 7:26:00 AM CF pool will open, for 2014 at least
by Ken Haggerty
The Cannon Falls city council agreed at its April 15 meeting to authorize up to $50,000 for some basic needed mechanical work and simple patches at the city pool and to open up the facility for 2014. The future for beyond 2014 will be discussed in coming months.
Public Works director Tom Bergeson said he thought the costs of the "bare bones minimum repairs" would be $46,000 at most, and maybe quite less. He told the Beacon on April 22 that he was optimistic the pool would be ready to open on Monday, June 9.
The council has debated on whether or not to spend more money on the 1968 pool. Options discussed have included building new, do some remodeling, or just shut it down. Voters rejected a referendum authorizing up to $4.25 in bonding for an all new, all modern facility in March by a 3 to 1 margin.
While the council approved a one-year plan and decided to discuss future plans in coming months, council member LeRoy McCusker advocated for a five-year plan. McCusker said in meeting with concrete people who looked at the pool's bad spots, they said "the integrity of the pool is not in question." He said the concrete people thought the structure would last another five to ten years.
McCusker said there are public rest rooms that have been idle at the facility that could be converted into handicapped rest rooms by cutting into the exterior wall and retrofitting. He thought some other basic repairs could be made to accommodate handicap parking and entrances to the facility. Bringing the pool up to modern Americans with Disabilities Act standards is another issue the council has debated. McCusker said the existing pool could be fitted with a hydraulic lift for handicapped access or for senior citizens wanting to use it for therapy.
McCusker said these basic repairs, handicap accessibility renovations, and some basic upgrades with new tables, umbrellas, indoor/outdoor carpeting and wi-fi access could be accomplished for about $100,000. He called it a five to ten year plan.
Council member Bill Duncan said he thought repair costs and operating losses for operating the existing pool over five more years would total $400,000.
Mayor Robby Robinson noted a new pool is in the city's capital spending plan for 2019, but said a "$4 million project is way beyond the scope of our town." Duncan said he thinks a good new pool can be built for about $2.5 million.
Bergeson said he hopes people who voiced opposition to the new pool proposal that was voted down get involved in any planning process for a new proposal and make their opinions known early on.