City to close pool
Dickinson's North Pool will not open this year, Dickinson Park Board members decided at a meeting Monday.
A new federal law has made it impossible for the outdoor pool to open until the drains are updated.
"Even if we wanted to open this season at the outdoor pool, it is going to be very difficult with the schedule of getting the drain covers fabricated and scheduling the construction crew out here to make this happen for this season," said James Kramer, Dickinson Parks and Recreation director.
The drains will cost $50,000 to $55,000, but that amount may increase.
"Once they get in and redo the pool drains and the piping, that may justify having to change some pumps, which they won't know until they get into the facility and into the renovation," Kramer said.
Board members all agreed it would be best to close for the summer.
"It would just be totally irresponsible to open it for eight or six weeks," Commissioner John Gaffaney said.
The pool may never reopen, depending on how the drain issue plays out. Commissioner Scott Kovash added because of the age of the pool, irreversible problems may occur and then the money put into the pool for drains would be a waste.
Kramer said more research will help the Park District decide whether the pool should open again.
"I wouldn't feel comfortable making a decision based on a shot in the dark," said Mike Lefor, Park Board president.
After the meeting, Kramer said the drop in pool use will influence decisions. He said pool use has dropped by about 50 percent since 2004.
Drains for the West River Community Center pool will be replaced this year and are expected to cost about $16,000.
In other matters, several projects which were planned for the summer may be put off due to uncertain finances. Those projects include building a skate park, repairing a tennis court in east Dickinson and replacing bridges at the Heart River Golf Course.
"I think we need to revisit the plan," Kramer said. "With the national economic situation the way it is, I think we are starting to see some filtration locally."
Revenue has decreased across the board. Memberships at WRCC and HRGC are down, oil revenue is down, and the general fund revenue is down, he said.
"I'm not recommending that we completely put a kibosh on those plans but I think we need to take a step back," Kramer said. "Rather than jump into them in May and June, I think we may need to take some time on them to make them fall projects."