New swimming pool will require new strategy

City Administrator Steven Garrett told the Hillsboro City Council at its June 1 meeting that when the city builds a new swimming pool in the next two years, it will have it manage it differently than the current pool is managed.

Garrett said the projected expense of building a new pool, estimated in the $2 million range, will require the city to manage it like a business-continually developing strategies to generate income by drawing in more customers from a wider area.

“We have to think differently about how we approach management,” he said.

As an example, Garrett mentioned developing “party packages” that would attract groups on a regular basis during the pool season.

“We’ll need to provide quality service that people will want to come for,” he said.

In a response to a question about location, Garrett said the new pool would not be built in Memorial Park, where the current one is situated.

He said contemporary pool designs call for space to accommodate large pools and activities other than swimming, such as grass areas for recreation and sunbathing. The plan being considered requires a minimum of two acres.

“We just don’t have that kind of room there,” Mayor Delores Dalke said of the Memorial Park location.

Garrett said a specific site for a new pool has not been determined yet, but it will likely be in the Sports Complex area.

Garrett said he was “pretty enthused” about the pool project.

“It’ll be something that really stands out, something the community really needs,” he said.

Councilor Matt Hiebert said he wanted residents to know that the current pool is not having structural problems at this time.

“It’s simply that a pool like ours has a 50-year life expectancy, and that’s where we are right now,” Hiebert said.

Garrett also reported he and Martin Rhodes, city building inspector and code enforcement officer, met May 26 with representatives from the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church about building a facility on its current property to replace the one that burned March 7.

The delegation, Garrett said, presented a “footprint” (a preliminary outline) of a facility that could be situated on that property.

Specifically, the delegation asked the city council to respond to the possibility of closing the 100 block of South Washington in order to create a unified campus for the sake of additional parking and better accessibility to the building.

The church owns property on the both sides of the street.

Don Ratzlaff, moderator of the congregation, told the council that church leaders are still in the fact-finding stage and need feedback from the city before deciding whether to pursue the former location seriously or to pursue other options.

The council accepted Garrett’s suggestion that the city consider the issue of closing the 100 block of South Washington at its June 15 meeting. That date was later changed to the July 6 meeting.

In other matters, the council:

— heard Garrett say he was pleased with the way the myriad events of the Memorial Day weekend went, particularly regarding the involvement of city staff.

“Last week was crazy, but by Friday morning things pretty well fell together,” Garrett said. “The city looked pretty good. Folks in the community always do a good job of that. I was pleased with how my staff performed.”

— heard from Garrett that he hoped the city’s Web site would be up and running by Monday. Dalke reported that someone from out of town had asked whether State Rep. Don Dahl’s Memorial Day address could be posted on the site.

— the council approved the annual audit report as it was prepared and presented by Knudsen, Monroe & Co. LLC.

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