ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — A longtime pool in Rochester could be closing for good.
In a study session on Monday afternoon, the City Council went over the Rochester Park and Recreation recommendation to close the pool and install splash pads and other water features.
Parks and Recreation Supervisor Ben Boldt said the current version of the pool was built in the 1950s and for the past few years the operation of the pool has been under review.
“Every spring, when we start up Silver Lake pool, we keep our fingers crossed that all systems will fire back up and that they will work again in the summer,” Boldt said.
Boldt said the recommendation comes after the usage and attendance for the past several years has been on the decline.
“We feel like at this point with the budget reduction, we need to undertake it is the right time to make that decision,” Boldt said.
The decision to close the pool and replace it with a different water feature.
“If we close the pool at Silver Lake in 2021 that will save us about $40,000 in operating expenses,” Boldt said. “We would have a few splash pads or water features type options in other areas throughout the city.”
The main goal is to have one main outdoor pool at Soldiers Field.
However, for Councilman Shaun Palmer, that decision to close down Silver Lake is not one he is willing to back.
“I don’t want this council to kill this pool for $50,000,” Palmer said.
Palmer said a lot of people utilize the Silver Lake Pool and the eastside of Rochester does not have another aquatics facility.
Instead of shutting it down, Palmer said he has another idea.
“Next year, [what] I would like to see done is that the splash pad at Soldiers Field be used, not the pool, and use the Silver Lake pool and market that, and use that as an outdoor pool or a lap pool,” Palmer said.
Both men are taking two different stances on what should happen to Silver Lake pool.
“We do believe outdoor aquatics is an important component to maintain in the park systems,” Boldt said. “We’ve just identified that our goal is to have one very nice outdoor pool.”
Palmer said he believes Rochester is big enough to have more than two pools, and that it is up council to fund items for the citizens of Rochester.