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home : government : cities/towns May 29, 2016

12/3/2012 10:40:00 AM
Pool on minds of some, even in December

By David Richards

Kim McPhee remembers when Byron's pool had a snack bar.

She remembers the popcorn and the snocones, not by flavor, but by color.

"They had a red one, a blue one and a green one," she said.

She also remembers the flotation devices her now adult kids used, the popular "water wings."

McPhee, 54, has lived in Byron for more than 40 years, and is chair of a steering committee that is taking a close look at the pool's future.

The committee, made up of a small group of residents, was formed this fall for the purpose of brainstorming ideas in regard to the pool, which is now past a quarter century old.

"I just feel strongly about having it for kids in town," McPhee said. "And I hope the kids will have it for a very long time. It's the only thing to do in the summer besides baseball and softball."

City staff say the pool has gone through typical wear and tear and goes through regular maintenance, but has no major structural damage.

In the future, if major repairs are needed because of the pool's age, the committee feels a plan should be in place whether to completely renovate the existing pool or build a new one on the same property.

The group meets on the second Monday of the month at city hall at 6 p.m.

"The purpose is to get ideas on how to raise money and to see if we can do this," McPhee said.

"It's not a cheap venture. We're looking at a five to 10-year plan."

At future meetings, the committee plans on hosting representatives from nearby towns that have recently renovated their pools, built new ones or are planning to do so soon, including both Kasson and Stewartville.

McPhee said whatever is in Byron's future, it will likely resemble, at least in size, the existing pool, which was made possible through a fundraising effort by motivated individuals who felt strongly about the cause.

A bigger structure isn't really possible on the current location, McPhee said, because there wouldn't be the parking to accommodate it.

But the size, she added, isn't a problem as it has provided leisurely swimming and swim lessons to area youth for more than two decades.

McPhee runs a daycare and still makes frequent trips to the pool each summer.

"I've had at least 200 kids go through swim lessons there," she said.

Byron Mayor Ann Diercks feels the committee is important because of the pool's age.

"It's just getting old," Diercks said.

Diercks added that any major type of decision would eventually go before the public via hearings and possibly then to a vote through a referendum.

The park board manages the pool through the city. It's paid for by taxes, membership fees and the cost of swim lessons.

As for a return of a snack bar, no one seems to know the answer, but McPhee said her kids enjoyed it.

She didn't make them wait 30 minutes before going back into the water, though.

"Nah, they had water wings," she said.




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