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Moving Forward With Aquatics Center

By Staff | Feb 14, 2008

“The Emmetsburg Aquatics Committee is here to educate the public on the research we have done on an outdoor aquatics center,” said co-chair Rick Brennan. “We have put in a lot of time and effort and now we hope to bring Iowa Lakes Community College and the City of Emmetsburg together to form a task force.”

Brennan pointed out, “We need to move forward and it will cost money to build and maintain. Progress is expensive and we believe our town and its people are worth it. What we are presenting is a rough draft, a starting point. We hope we can all agree to partner and move forward.”

Over 35 people met at the Wellness Center gymnasium to hear plans for an Emmetsburg Outdoor Aquatics Center. The meeting was held Tuesday, Feb. 12.

“Emmetsburg has one of the best indoor facilities in the entire state, but we’re missing something,” said Brennan. “Since the outdoor pool was removed from Soper Park, our families have been seeking recreational outlets in Graettinger, Spencer and Algona. When they frequent those facilities, they spend money there. If they stay in town, they spend their money in town.”

The need for an outdoor aquatics center was identified during The Storm event held January 2005. With encouragement from The Storm, the committee moved forward. Funding for an analysis was provided by several businesses and community residents.

Darren Bevard, representative from Larkin Aquatics in Kansas City, was on hand to walk through the analysis. Surveys were sent out with Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities bills to 1500 households in March 2007. The committee received 204 responses; 168 hard copies and 36 surveys completed online. That represented 13-percent of the households in Emmetsburg and showed good age distribution, Bevard said.

A number of sites were considered, including property adjacent to the Smith Wellness Center. “We have not sought endorsement from Iowa Lakes Community College, but we know the project will benefit the community,” said Brennan.

“This is a very desirable location,” said Bevard “The Smith Wellness Center has an existing outdoor sun deck and we could help supplement what’s already here. Estimated cost at this site would be $2.1 million.”

Bevard said shard staffing, programming cross-over, simplified service and maintenance, and shared support facilities such as parking and restrooms make the site very desirable.

The committee is proposing a leisure pool with zero-depth entry, floatables area and plunge pool. Other features include shaded shallow water bench, children’s flume slide, themed children’s slide, shallow water spray and play features, family slide in the deeper water, themed floatables, floatable walkway, underwater therapy bench, water slides, water basketball, family changing room with stool, shower, sink, sitting area and baby changing area, and ADA accessibility with ramp and hand rail.

“Shaded deck areas are one of the most critical things,” said Bevard.

“The Emmetsburg Aquatics Center Committee will be in touch soon to ask that a joint committee be formed,” Brennan told the group. “The existing committee will be available to work with this group.”

Members of the Emmetsburg Outdoor Aquatics Center committee attending the meeting Tuesday included co-chairs Diane and Rick Brennan, Steve and Tammy Hoyman, Kim Joyce, Joan Bunda, Julie Elbert, Kathy Jackson, Deena and Travis Fries, Mary Ellen Jackson and Todd Ditch.