WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 22, 2009, 09:56 PM

East Grand Forks May Close Pool

Council members are considering closing the pool in a few years to save money.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

The East Grand Forks pool may not hold water for many more summers.

Last night we told you that council members say the expenses of fixing and operating the pool on an annual basis are piling up and it's time to look at long term savings.

Every year, it costs more than five thousand dollars to open the pool and more then 60 thousand dollars to operate.

And many east side council members say the 46 year old structure only has a handful of years left.

The East Grand Forks pool is nearing the 50 year mark, and city leaders say the cost of getting it up and running each summer is totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

Dick Grassel/ EGF Council President: It needs some repair, it's not totally shot, no, but there's been repairs on that swimming pool every year, a few thousand dollars to fix it here and there.

At last night's budget meeting, council members discussed the expenses with the pool, comparing it with a rusted out car. They say they're OK with biting the bullet spending more than five thousand dollars to open the pool, but in a few years, it'll be time to look at long-term savings.

Mike Pokrzywinski/ EGF City Council: We can band aid it at least five more years, I think, maybe further along than that, at some point, you have to have a facility that meets code and everything else.

Dick Grassel/ EGF Council President: We're hoping for the pool to last a few more years, maybe in 2010, we put it on the ballot and see if the residents and taxpayers would support a bonding bill.

Council president Dick Grassel favors keeping the pool open, since a new pool could easily tally two million dollars. The city would save about 60 thousand dollars a year by closing the pool. But many families in the area say the facility has at least a few more good years.

Paul Bartz/ Grand Forks: It's definitely a cheap alternative to some of the indoor facilities we have that are rather expensive compared to the money here, and again when it's nice out, the pool's busy, I'm sure all the other pools are too, so it'd be nice to have enough facilities for all the kids.

The pool already competes with two outdoor pools in Grand Forks, and with two pedestrian bridges, some council members want an agreement to send kids to Grand Forks' Elks or Riverside pools for swimming lessons.

Mike Pokrzywinski/ EGF City Council: Entry fees don't even come close to covering the cost of operating it and paying the staff, so I can tell you the votes are not there to close it next year, we will get through this budget season without closing the pool, but I think it's a good opportunity for us to start talking about it for next year.

Grassel says they're exploring additional funding for a pool project including federal grants and the Legacy Program.