The city pool is closed for the season, and the future solutions are uncertain at this point.
By David Richards
As a result of sand being discovered in the water at the end of June, city staff has closed the Byron public pool for the remainder of the season.
A pool expert, who inspected the facility on the Fourth of July, informed city staff that a broken pipe has been found around the entire pool, and fixing it would require the concrete around it to be torn up.
"It actually breaks my heart," said Mary Blair-Hoeft, city administrator. "You know who I worry about? I worry about the parents who rely on the pool to give their kids some structure."
The estimated cost just to make the pool, which is roughly 25 years old, run again is $50,000.
A pool committee was formed this fall in an effort to take a close look at the future of the pool, in case major repairs were ever needed and so that a game plan was in place.
That time came sooner rather than later.
"Luckily we started that process," Mayor Ann Diercks said.
The committee has been working with USA Aquatics out of the Twin Cities to come up with options as to the future of a pool in Byron.
Diercks said those reports have come back, with the committee meeting yesterday to review them.
The next step is for the committee to bring a proposal to the city council.
The options include fixing the current pool, constructing a new outdoor pool or constructing both an indoor and an outdoor pool to give the community year-round access to a swimming facility.
Blair-Hoeft said depending on what option the council approves, the issue could wind up as a ballot referendum and could ultimately be decided on by the voters.
If that were the case, the community might have two referendums to vote on in close proximity of each other if the school district finalizes plans for the construction of a new building to house certain elementary grades.
The city is working out a refund process for those who prepaid this summer. For more information, city hall can be reached at (507) 775-3400.
"I think it's sad and disappointing," said Diercks, who lives close to the pool. "I feel bad for everyone who uses it. It's hard to be outside and not hear the laughing and the whistles blowing."