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BE studies possible new pool slide

By Staff | Mar 26, 2017

While the council discussed a new pool slide, they also took time at the meeting to go outside and get a good look at the BE Fire Department’s new grass fire fighting rig. Left to right are mayor Rick Scholtes, councilman Dan Warner, fire fighter Ashley Bleess, councilmen Marty Cassem and Russ Erichsrud and city administrator Tim Ibisch. The new rig will be used mainly for fires in the rural area around Blue Earth.

With their second meeting of March falling on the first official day of spring, Monday, March 20, the Blue Earth City Council turned their attention to several items dealing with this coming summer and the advent of warmer weather.

One item was the Blue Earth Municipal Swimming Pool and Aquatic Center.

“It is the 10th anniversary of the new pool this summer,” city administrator Tim Ibisch reported. “And we are looking at doing a major upgrade.”

Specifically, that upgrade would be a new slide.

“When the pool was built, it was with the idea of having two water slides,” Ibisch explained. “The foundation for the second slide has always been in place, but it was decided at the time to just install one slide to keep the costs down.”

Now, however, the Park and Rec Committee, and the pool manager, Michele Hall, are looking at raising funds for the second slide.

It will not be an inexpensive project. The cost estimate on that new slide, which will be longer than the first one, is $93,500.

“We are hoping they can raise about half of this amount through fundraisers and donations,” Ibisch said. “The rest will come out of the city budget.”

The city administrator said it would be nice to do something to freshen up the pool after 10 years, plus, in another 10 years the pool’s bond will be paid off and that could be a time for a major upgrade.

Ibisch also reported on some proposed changes for the pool’s schedule.

“Open swim has been between 12 and 8 p.m. each day,” he said. “Now we are looking at hours of 1 to 7 p.m., with the last hour, 7 to 7:45 p.m., being for special activities.”

Those would include lap swim for adults on Mondays and Wednesdays, family swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and teen swim on Fridays. These will be in June and July only.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the City Council:

Once again discussed a proposed new public works building.

Administrator Ibisch gave an update on the possible building, including some plans and costs from Madison Lake for a similar sized structure that Blue Earth is looking at.

That building bid was $535,000.

“We have a couple of local contractors interested in this construction and would submit bids,” Ibisch said. “And I feel the best site is to demo the current building and build right on that same site.”

The council decided to tour the current public works buildings before the next meeting, at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, April 3.

Voted to send a letter of order of abatement to a property located at 428 S. Nicollet St. The order calls for cleanup by March 31.

The council wants the outside of the property cleaned up, but they also discussed getting an inspection of the interior, to determine if it is in hazardous condition.

That issue also sparked discussion on a new rental property ordinance, that would mandate regular inspections to make sure the buildings are safe and habitable.

Options for the city for nuisance and hazardous properties will be the subject of the work session at the next City Council meeting.

Once again discussed developing new housing in the city.

Councilman John Huisman urged the developing of a housing plan, with set dates for progress reports, in order to keep the housing issue moving along.

Administrator Ibisch gave a report on current progress but also said it will be necessary to get all of the council members on the same page as far as what they envision should be done.

Ibisch was asked to present all of the various options at the next council meeting.

Signed fire service agreements with five townships. The cost of the three year contracts was set at $217 per year per section of land for 2018.

Appointed Ken Skaare to the Housing Rehabilitation Authority (HRA), to replace Ted Armon.

Took a look at the new grass fire pickup rig of the Blue Earth Fire Department.