Final swim lesson session starts July 29; Pelican Lake group donates for instruction

By Louis Hoglund

The Pelican Rapids city swimming pool has been open for swimmers since June 11. While it was later than hoped, the activity has been heavy at the city pool–including three sessions of swimming lessons.  

Assisting with the cost of the swim lessons was a donation of $1,000 from the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association–the second year the lake group has contributed to Pelican swim lessons. 

Kids enjoying a float at the pool. Managing the Pelican Rapids city swimming pool this summer is Jessi Wilson, who provided this photo to the Pelican Rapids Press.

The contribution was prompted, in part, by an awareness that many families in the area are underserved, as far as children learning to swim. The council passed a resolution thanking the Pelican lake group for the donation.  

The pool has one more session of swimming lessons scheduled, for July 29 to August 9.  

For information on registering, stop at the pool or call city hall at 218-863-7076. Pool number is 863-5641.

Pool manager this season is Jessie Wilson. 

Meanwhile a re-energized Pelican pool committee is ramping up its fundraising plans for a new facility.  Drawings have been created, illustrating a $3.7 million pool with water park features. A campaign has been launched, including pleas for individual donations and also searches for grant opportunities. 

Keelia Rockstead, instructor, working with children at the Pelican Rapids city pool, above.

“Join us to create a state of the art aquatic facility that will enhance recreational opportunities, drive tourism and provide a fun summer experience for all,” states the pool committee on its website,

Checks or cash may be mailed to or dropped off at Pelican Rapids City Hall or Larry’s Supermarket.  Please make checks payable to the City of Pelican Rapids with “New Pool” listed in the memo line. 

 Tax donation receipts available at Pelican Rapids City Hall.

​Donations can be mailed to:

​Pelican Rapids City Hall

315 N Broadway 

PO Box 350

Pelican Rapids, MN  56572


Larry’s Supermarket

1007 S Broadway

Pelican Rapids, MN  56572​

“Our goal is to provide active recreational facilities for residents and families of Pelican Rapids and beyond,” states the pool committee on the website. “This facility will provide opportunities for healthy activity and expanded offerings.  Water aerobics, birthday parties or gatherings and expanded swimming lessons are just a few of the possibilities.  Help us build a place that will serve our community for years to come.”

Built in about 1978, the pool has been springing various leaks over the past several years, often causing delays in opening. 

Leaks were again a factor this year, as the pool opened June 11.  The underground leaks tend to be mysterious.  City public works director Brian Olson reported at the July 9 council meeting that on one day, the pool water level would be down  a half inch. A few days later, it would lose two inches overnight, said Olson.  

An illustration of the proposed Pelican Rapids swimming pool complex.

Committee outlines need for new swimming facility  

(Editor’s note: Following is a statement from the Pelican Rapids Pool Committee, outlining the need for a new swimming complex.)

The Pelican Rapids pool has been an important part of our community since 1978. After years of community enjoyment, the deterioration of the pool structure and bathhouse needs to be addressed.    

A study was conducted on the existing pool and it was determined that the pool is in desperate need of repair and updates to accommodate ADA accessibility standards and safe swimming.  It was also determined that repairing and updating the existing structure is not feasible.  A pool committee worked through the design process and held public input meetings to arrive at the design for a new aquatic complex here in Pelican Rapids. Now the committee is moving forward with fundraising for our new aquatic center.  The goal of the new facility is to build community, foster healthy living and drive inclusion and safety through a beautiful swimming facility that accommodates all levels of swimmers.

​The new complex will feature a slide, lazy river, diving board, zero depth entry pool and a splash pad feature.  It will also include an expanded pool deck, shade structures, a gazebo and more.

​The bathhouse will include changing and showering facilities for the pool as well as a separate space for a campground bathhouse.

​As a committee, we feel this new complex is a need for Pelican Rapids.  Not only will it be a beautiful structure for years to come, but it offers area residents and families an awesome opportunity for active summer fun. The features of our new pool will attract swimmers from surrounding communities and help enhance tourism and recreational activities of our town.