There will be numerous details still to be decided but after six years of work, the look and layout of the ambitious undertaking have taken shape, according to John Cook, who along with Dr. Robert Martin, serves as co-chair of the committee.
Cook is confident that the Aquatic Center can be substantially completed this year, with perhaps finishing touches to be completed in the spring of 2007. The city council has authorized the demolition of the municipal pool as soon as feasible. The pool is almost 50 years old and would need expensive repairs to open anyway.
One of the final details to be worked out is the exterior wall material of the bathhouse/concession stand, which will be cut face block like at the pool in Spencer.
The committee members and many other supporters have traveled to similar projects, viewing results and talking to people about what patrons liked and potential problems. Cook added that the committee got considerable input from people who worked at the local pool in order to avoid problems.
The committee had long considered a grass area inside the fence and also a wet sand area for young children to play in. It was decided last week that both will be included in the final design.
There was a concern that the wet sand area would require considerable maintenance but after visiting locations that had them, it was decided that it would not be a problem to maintain.
The long publicized features of the Aquatic Center remain in the plans including zero depth entry, a family fun area, lap swimming area, two water slides (one and enclosed tube and one an open slide), a splash pad, diving boards and a much improved concession stand.
The neighboring Gillette Park will be a gathering place for community events and have a playground, walking paths, a band shell and picnic area.
Neal Kuehl of Kuehl and Payer in Storm Lake is the project engineer. Kuehl is working with an architectural firm in Spencer on the Aquatic Center and one in Des Moines on the Gillette Park part of the project.
There is still fund raising to do and there will likely remain some to do well after construction begins.
Anyone with questions about how to support the project can call city hall at 225-5749.