Campaign for new swim center, ‘water park’ has been community effort

By Brent Frazier, mayor City of Pelican Rapids 

We all have our own fond memories and experiences of our first swimming holes and locations when we were children.

This author remembers swimming on the west shore of Lake Crystal. Although the area was mostly composed of sand and small stones, one didn’t have to move out too far in the deeper waters to then have the experience of your toes tangled in the long weeds. There was no on-duty life guard, thus a parent or grandparent took on this responsibility.

After moving into the City of Pelican Rapids, my swimming experience and location then became the Mill Pond area above the dam. The companionship of many other young swimmers present made it a broader social event with the amenities of a shower/dressing rooms and an on-duty lifeguard present during open swimming hours. Floating on the Mill Pond was a raft which was used for sunbathing and also a structure in which to dive from into the deeper waters. There was a manmade sand beach, but beyond it one experienced the many layers of silt which had accumulated due to the dam’s ability to restrain the sediment from flowing over the outfall of the dam. Also during the late months of summer, the experience of ‘Swimmer’s Itch’ was ever present to swimmers.

1978 pool served well, but time for an update 

In 1978, through the efforts of much volunteer labor, the residents and visitors of Pelican Rapids then had the luxury of swimming in a Junior Olympic swimming pool. Also included in this swimming pool complex were furnaces to heat the water, an indoor reception area, shower/dressing rooms, entry & exit ladders, a diving board, a kiddy wading pool and multiple life guards to stand guard for the safety of the swimmers. 

Over the 43 years, much maintenance has been applied to the swimming pool complex. This included the annual sandblasting & painting to the pool bottom & side walls and the many costly repairs to solve the leakage of water from the swimming pool. 

Yes, the existing swimming pool has no doubt outlived its’ life expectancy.

As the calendar moved onto 2012, a Pool Committee was formed and had our residents vote on the design of a new swimming pool complex, of which a design was chosen and two fund raising ventures were embarked upon without much success. Let it be known that the first Pool Committee labored long and hard to get us to where we are today. 

In 2018, a Pool Committee was reformed and then began to strategize for fundraising options and opportunities. 

Pool campaign nears $2.5 million mark 

As of February 7, 2021 the Pool Committee has raised $2,483,216.26 out of a previous fundraising goal of $3.7 million. 

Fundraising efforts include the City of Pelican Rapids’ commitment of $ 1.2 million, private & corporate donations of $863,853.63, matching funds by a generous donor of $363,853.63 and in-kind donations of $55,509.00. It should be mentioned that the generous donor gave $500,000.00 and has also offered a match up to $500,000.00, of which $363,853.63 has been raised thus far.

Projected costs for pool updated to $4 million 

Over the course of the past few years, due to escalated labor and building supply costs, the total construction cost of a swimming pool and building is estimated to be $4,033,665.00.

The Pelican Rapids City Council recently approved the Pool Committee to seek more specific pool plans by March 01, 2021, whereas bids could be obtained yet in 2021. 

With such a timeframe, the demolition of the old swimming pool complex could happen in the autumn of 2021 and the new Pelican Rapids Swimming Pool Complex construction beginning in the spring of 2022.

Through the many efforts and successful labors of the Pool Committee, the private, corporate & public donations, a most generous donor and the in-kind donations, our proposed Pelican Rapids Swimming Pool Complex in on the road to becoming a reality. 

New facility could be “destination” draw to Pelican 

Our new swimming pool will become a wonderful destination for many to view and enjoy. Our new swimming pool will attract local and visiting swimmers of all ages. All of which will contribute to the vibrancy and economy of our city and merchants.

As Pelican Rapids moves forward, we all will be contributing to the future of our city, our community and our children.-

Thank you all for your investment in our future.

Leading the campaign for a new Pelican city pool 

The members of the current Pelican Rapids Pool Committee:

Deysi Barragan, Brady Ballard, Mark Dokken, Amy King, Jackie Larson, Kate Martinez, Rudy Martinez, Don Perrin and Trevor Steeves.