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Site set for outdoor pool

Stepheny Reger, Western Edge Outdoor Pool Committee chairperson, holds up an "ugly duckling" during a press conference regarding plans for a new outdoor pool at the West River Community Center on Friday. The ducks are going to be part of a new fundraising initiative for the facility. Nearly $500,000 have already been raised for the project from donations.

A site has been set and financing is well on the way for an outdoor pool at the West River Community Center, Dickinson Parks and Recreation officials announced Wednesday in a meeting at the center.

Nearly $500,000 has been raised for the swimming spot, which will be located on the south side of the center, said James Kramer, Dickinson Parks and Recreation director.

The outdoor pool was always part of the community center design, but was put on hold in 2002 to meet the $12.4 million budget for the facility, Kramer said, but the grounds are still prepared.

"When the dirt work was done for the community center, we actually had physically planned where the outdoor pool would go and handled all utilities and infrastructure," he said.

There are no designs for the pool, but the project is expected to cost $3 million based on its size of 7,500 square feet.

Due to cost of renovation and maintenance, Dickinson's last outdoor pool located in Memorial Park along Fairway Street was shut down in 2008, Kramer said.

Advocates of a new pool, called the Western Edge Outdoor Pool Committee, approached the park district in 2010 with hopes of building a facility, Chairperson Stepheny Reger said during the meeting.

After local survey results showed a demand for the outdoor pool last fall, the committee geared up for a fundraising effort.

So far 20 businesses have contributed, as have 53 individual donors.

Fundraising began with fliers and the committee has recently initiated face-to-face meetings with local businesses.

Wilson McLaughlin, park district recreation supervisor and fundraising contact, said businesses have been very welcoming.

"With the way Dickinson is growing, they are excited to bring something else to Dickinson," he said. "They want to show the city that they haven't forgotten about the residents."

Kramer said there is not a defined goal.

"If we raise all $3 million, God help us we are fortunate, if not, we will be approaching the city for assistance in one way shape or form," he said, adding that property tax would not be increased and money would likely be taken from sales tax dollars.

Connie Conlin of Dickinson was a donor and attended the meeting.

"Three of my granddaughters live in Louisiana, so they may not ever use this pool, but that is beside the point," she said. "Other people have grandchildren and I want them to benefit from this."

With funding, design and construction, the pool would be operational starting the summer of 2014 at the earliest, Kramer said.