Grand Marais Park Board talks about Community Center Pool budget cuts

The Cook County Community Center Steering Committee will be getting some input from the Grand Marais Park Board at their next meeting.  Park Board Member and City Councilor Bill Lenz updated the park board on budget-induced reductions to the Cook County Family YMCA design at their meeting on February 5.

The amount designated for outdoor amenities, including a new softball field, has been limited to $500,000 in order to leave as much money as possible for the YMCA building.  “We feel that we have to get the building done,” said Lenz.  “At this point, the ball field is kind of up in the air.”

“The ball field is really important to our plans,” said Park Manager Dave Tersteeg.  The park’s Master Plan calls for replacing the ball field with full-service RV sites when the county builds a new ball field on its current Community Center property.  Lenz said that he has told the steering committee that if a new field is not built, Grand Marais will eventually have one fewer field than it needs.

 Bill Lenz told the board about the committee’s decision to reduce the pool depth from 12 feet to 9 feet, precluding any future installation of a diving board.  “A lot of the people felt that we didn’t need the diving board to begin with,” he said.  Manager Tersteeg said that maintaining a nine-foot depth would be cheaper but that because pools often lose several inches of water during use, maintaining nine feet of water would require a 9 ½-foot pool depth.

Tersteeg said they have been hearing a lot of negative feedback at the pool regarding the fact that the new facility will not have a separate kiddie pool.  The pool will have a zero-depth entry and a shallow end but will be maintained at 80 degrees, Tersteeg said, instead of 92 degrees, the temperature of the current kiddie pool.  Regarding the lack of separation between shallow and deeper water, Tersteeg said, “You really have to keep an eye on your child there.”  He said a segment of the pool guests will really miss the kiddie pool.

Lenz said the committee is considering a sand filtration system.  Tersteeg said a UV filtration system is better because it kills bacteria chlorine cannot.  He said coastal states are requiring new pools to have UV systems.  “I just can’t believe you guys aren’t specking UV,” he said.  “The retrofit is twice as much as the original install.  It’s worth the $100,000.”

Tersteeg also recommended that they make sure to install an ample-sized air handling system.  He they need to be oversized for the square footage in order to function well.

Lenz said he would pass along the recommendations he was given to the steering committee.