Outdoor Pool Task Force Presents Findings To Pierre City Commission

(KCCR) — The Pierre City Commission got a first look at what the Mayor’s Outdoor Pool Task Force is considering for replacement of Pierre’s nearly century old municipal pool. The group came up with two proposals, a six-point-five million dollar basic pool and an 11-point-nine million dollar expanded proposal, both of which were highlighted by Task Force member Paula Huizenga…

“The base funded project that’s shown on the top, what it really does is just replace our existing facility. As part of our task force, we determined, through our research that additional features were needed and a larger sized pool to serve the patrons that we expect to see. The Committee also determined that modern features were needed similar to what we see in Aberdeen, Huron, Watertown and Rapid City so we looked at adding things to the base model which is shown in the bottom portion of the slide. And this would be through a public/private partnership and the additional amenities can be added without raising taxes.”
The expanded fully funded option would include a slow flowing “Lazy River” along with multiple water slides and larger pool and diving boards. Beyond construction is operating costs which Task Force member Becky Spoehr says the plan would be modeled after the public pool in Aberdeen…

“Aberdeen’s operating subsidy is 40,000 dollars. In 2018 the City of Pierre outdoor pool had an operating cost of 71,000 dollars and revenues totally 11,000 dollars. The difference was an operating subsidy of 60,000 dollars. Our pool is old. It’s lost its appeal to the public, thus we have poor attendance and little revenue. Therefore we chose the Aberdeen financial operating model. We’re proposing operating costs of Aberdeen’s actual profile, which leaves an operating subsidy from the general fund for the Pierre outdoor pool of 60,000 dollars.”
Spoehr say after a year of operation they would look to adjust and modify that subsidy to a lower amount with increased use. Task Force Co-Chair Becky Burke says a Capital Campaign would cover the costs of adding all the pool extras…

“The amount of money that we would need to raise in order to have the fully funded project on the base of that foam board is 5 million 467 thousand dollars. The features of the fully funded project have been prioritized so as we raise money, we will know what features we will be able to include in the final build. Our recommendation is that the City consider the formation of a Capital Campaign cabinet to be formed in late March, with a Capital Campaign to start shortly after that.”
Burke also laid out a possible timeline…

“We would recommend that the current outdoor pool stay open through this summer and next summer and be closed September of 2020. Construction on the new facility to begin in April of 2021 and the pool to open in 2022 to coincide with our new water treatment plant. This way we will be filling the pool with nice water and we don’t have to worry about staining and correcting that in the future.”
A number of public information meetings will be planned for different day parts in early March to give community members multiple opportunities to give input on the proposals. The dates and times for those have not been announced. Commissioner Vona Johnson says she’d like to see the Commission take formal action toward the end of March.