Council, parks board will talk about Farmington's outdoor pool
Most people probably will not think twice when the Farmington outdoor pool closes for the season Aug. 18. It happens every year, and most forget about the pool by the time the school year starts two weeks later.
Most people, though, aren't on the Farmington City Council or the parks and recreation commission. And those folks definitely will not forget about the pool in the upcoming months.
Earlier this year, the Farmington City Council asked park board members to come up with some options for the future of the outdoor pool. Built in 1969 and opened in 1970, the outdoor pool has served the community for decades, but its days may be coming to an end. And that's why council members are looking for some options.
Council members and the park and rec commissioners are getting together Aug. 12 to talk about what could be the next steps in providing outdoor water recreation for the community. The joint work session starts at 6:30 p.m., with a tour of two city parks, and culminates with a discussion about aquatic facility options.
The city doesn't have any specific plans for a new pool or splash pad, or even what would happen if something in the current pool's infrastructure were to break and render the outdoor pool unusable. Park and rec director Randy Distad hopes next week's meeting will be the start of the conversations and decisions that need to happen.
In preparation for the joint meeting, the park and rec commission came up with an initial set of 13 options to address the future aquatic needs in Farmington. From those, the commission drew up a blended option they will bring to the council next week.
The commission favors a new aquatic center to be built in a more central location in the community, so they chose the Jim Bell Park and Preserve area.They would like to keep the current pool open while a new aquatic center is built.
If the current pool had to be closed before a new center opened, the commission members favor busing users to water facilities in neighboring communities. Apple valley, Eagan, Hastings and Northfield all have aquatic centers that could be used, Distad said.
Another part of the proposal is to eventually close the downtown pool and make it into a splash pool, which would serve younger children. The commission does not favor having an aquatic center and a full swimming pool, Distad added.
"They felt it would be too expensive to operate two pools," he said.
There are no estimates for any kind of pool construction or reconstruction at this time, Distad said. That would come forward as part of the project development, if city council members decide they want to move forward with such a project.
The work session Monday is just the beginning of a long-term process, Distad said. But the process needs to be started sooner than later, he added.
"We feel that in the next five years, something needs to be done with the current situation with the current pool," he said.