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RWC Board to reopen talks on municipal pool site

March 22, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

With Estherville's municipal pool project currently on hold, the Regional Wellness Center Board is advocating the site next to the RWC be reconsidered over the proposed site at Thoreson Park.

The Estherville Lincoln Central School Board, the overseer for the RWC as the school district owns the facility, gave its endorsement for the RWC site on Monday following a presentation by RWC board member Bob Jensen and RWC director Bob Grems.

Jensen and Grems said with the school board's blessing, they will make their case to both the Estherville Parks and Recreation Board and the Estherville City Council.

Planning for a new swimming pool/aquatic center has been going on for the past two years.

The pool committee tasked with researching the product presented designs, for the facility, which received approval from both the parks board and city council.

A community survey showed residents preferred a site on the north side of Thoreson Park and it was selected as the site for the municipal pool over the site next to the RWC.

The plan at the Thoreson Park depended on purchasing 10 acres of adjacent farmland. However, the owner now only wants to let go of 3 acres. Jensen said that would be just enough for the pool. It would not provide the extra parking that was expected to help with congestion around the park's four ballfields.

Jensen, who is also on the Estherville Parks and Recreation Board, said he was the only member of that board to support the site next to the RWC for the municipal pool.

He noted the advantages to the Thoreson site for the municipal pool is more parking for the ball fields, the new pool combined with the ball fields would make the area more family friendly and the area is not as affected by the smell from the rendering plant.

Jensen and Grems provided a much longer list on the advantages of having the municipal pool located next to the RWC.

One of those initial arguments was the opportunity to share staff and facilities to reduce costs and thus reduce the cost to taxpayers.

Having the municipal pool also in the ground eliminates the need to purchase private property for the project. It will allow for utilization of existing parking and sharing of the new parking with the RWC, Iowa Lakes Community College and the Iowa National Guard and vice versa.

The outdoor pool also could have a longer season with sharing staff with the RWC. That leads to the potential for school groups (ELC and surrounding communities) to use the facility in May and late August/early September when school is in session if designed appropriately to facilitate an extended operating season without substantially increasing the costs.



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