Mid-June, and the Pelican Rapids city swimming pool is leaking and still not open for business. 

Meanwhile, an ambitious plan for a new $3.7 million swimming pool has been unveiled.  

City crews last week were trying to zero in on yet another leak in the 43-year-old swim facility.  To one degree or another, the pool has sprung leaks for the past ten years, said Brian Olson, city public works and parks superintendent, at the June 11 city council meeting. 

Electronic leak detecting equipment was not conclusive last week, but Olson narrowed in on drains at the floor of the pool.  With luck, Olson hoped to open by last weekend.

A revived and updated plan to construct a new pool, with waterslide and various play features to create a “destination” swimming facility was also outlined at the June 11 council meeting. 

The plan, which updated and revised work done by an earlier swimming pool task force, in 2012, would include a new bathhouse structure that would also serve the expanded municipal campground to the north, in Sherin Park. 

Presenting the proposal were Kate Martinez, Mark Dokken and Amy King. 

The pool is one of the relatively few amenities the city can offer all kids, said Martinez.

The water slide would be positioned on the south end of the proposed complex, which would also provide a visual draw to motorists on Highway 108, noted King. 

Dokken outlined some of the other pool facilities in the region. 

Parkers Prairie, for example, recently completed a $2 million pool project–bolstered by a single, $1 million donor.  It doesn’t have as many features as the Pelican proposal. 

In his hometown of Benson, a $3 million project was completed about 12 years ago. The city bonded for part of the project, after Benson voters overwhelmingly approved a $1 million referendum. 

For a perspective, the 2012 pool committee determined that the price tag in merely renovating and repairing the existing pool could cost $1.2 million. 

The $3.7 million would create a “destination” swimming facility, with a “zero entry pool,” “lazy river” feature, play features and splash pad–along with a large water slide. 

The new bath house is attractive for several reasons.  The plan would eliminate both the aging structure at the pool, plus the deteriorating bathroom facility at the campground.  This would enable expansion of the city campground, which has become a success for the city–with high occupancy during the spring-summer-fall months. 

The bath house would have a rear entrance, open to the campground–but secured to the pool side when the pool isn’t open, explained King. 

“I see a new pool as a draw to the community, plus the development of additional campsites,” commented Councilman Curt Markgraf. Removal of the aging camp rest rooms would open up possibilities for additional sites. 

Dokken stressed that a new pool would be an investment not only benefitting the community, but also the businesses. 

Though ambitious, King said they would “love to break ground next spring.” 

As for fundraising, the pool committee has investigated the option of a $250,000 matching grant.  Also, a “buy a brick” campaign was discussed as an affordable way for the average, middle income family to contribute, said King.

The council gave a general blessing for the pool committee to launch fundraising efforts.   The city council will also consider options as to how the city could assist financially with the project.