SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Snow and ice are at the top of many minds this week. But in Sioux Falls, residents are learning about the fate of public swimming pools.
Feedback gathered at in-person meetings and online has shed light on what the community wants. The Sioux Falls City Council learned on Tuesday afternoon about these preferences, including for the pool at Kuehn Park on the west side of town.
“The major themes that came out of here was everybody wanted a combination of recreation water as well as fitness water,” said Mike Patten, parks planning and projects manager with the City of Sioux Falls. “Recreation water being slides and play and diving boards and whatnot. Fitness water could be lap swimming.”
It’s a similar story on the east side of town.
“At Frank Olson, very similar comments to Kuehn Park pool,” Patten said. “I would say the one thing that was noted consistently at Frank Olson was making sure that lap swimming was available going forward.”
“These pools have been fixtures of these neighborhoods for a very long time, and so we’re working with them just to figure out what do we replace them with,” said Don Kearney, director of parks and recreation with the City.
The city council received various recommendations: one, to prioritize building indoor aquatic centers at either Frank Olson Park or Kuehn Park: “ideally” at both. Two, McKennan Park should have its wading pool replaced. And three, pools at Terrace Park and Laurel Oak Park should get more shade and better concessions.
Both Patten and Kearney say cost estimates aren’t yet available. The eventual cost for the people enjoying the city’s parks is already on councilors’ minds.
“I want to make sure that the people that maybe they can’t afford to go to a private wellness center, that this they can access,” councilor Greg Neitzert said.
“Councilor Neitzert touched on it- it’s so important that this is an affordable option for families because some of these private recreational centers here in the city, they’re expensive,” councilor Sarah Cole said.
The soonest construction would start is 2024.