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Western Edge Outdoor Pool Committee wants to begin fundraising ASAP

Pool Committee

The Western Edge Outdoor Pool Committee is eager to begin fundraising, members said during a public forum at Dickinson City Hall Thursday evening.

"Funds are obviously a huge part of this," said Bobby Williams, committee member. "Our ultimate goal is to raise the majority of it, and start raising now."

Due to the need to fix the drains and other structural issues, Whitney Pool, or the north pool, located in Memorial Park along Fairway Street, hasn't been open since 2008. Whitney Pool was the city's last outdoor pool.

Since specific features haven't been decided upon, a price tag has not been attached to the construction of a new facility.

Doug Jaeger, who has experience in pool construction, said many communities use sales tax or bonds to fund pool construction.

"Grants don't exist," he said. "Fundraising for the entire thing, you hear of some, but you don't hear a lot."

However, the committee doesn't want to use sales taxes, Williams said.

Mike Lefor, Dickinson Park Board president, said the Park District will help any way they can.

"We're not a very big entity, but we want to be involved and hopefully this will be something that will be successful," Lefor said.

Only a handful of people from the community attended the forum.

However, 97 percent of the 372 people who completed surveys that were recently circulated on the matter said they want an outdoor pool, said Dave Lehman, committee member.

The biggest concern of those who took the survey was the cost, said Stepheny Reger, committee member.

Lefor said it will likely take two to three years to get a pool constructed, but board members want it done sooner.

"We're saying, kind of nonchalantly, man, we don't accept that," Williams said. "We want it to be here in a year."

However, he said realistically, it may take that long.

Other results of the surveys were also discussed at the meeting.

About 37 percent of the responders said they want a pool similar to the pools that have closed in Dickinson, Reger said.

"However, 48 percent said they would like to see a water park in the community," she added.

Lefor said occupancy at Whitney Pool was dropping prior to it being closed.

James Kramer, director of parks and recreation, said existing infrastructure at the West River Community Center may make that area a good location.

Features people want to see in a new facility include a baby pool, a zero depth entrance, a deep pool for diving and large water slides.

The committee would also like to add features that appeal to all ages.

Committee members found it surprising that 35 percent of those who responded do not have children under the age of 18.

"I would hope that we would be kind of building a pool for the future, because if Dickinson keeps growing as it is, something that can hold 300 people might not even be enough," Reger said.