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Aquatic center to open come summer

By Darwin Manning

If you want to swim in the Iowa sunshine come summer, your options just got considerably better. On June 1 the Grinnell community will be treated to the grand opening of the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center located at 8th Avenue and Sunset Street, right across from the Lion’s Park.

“We are saying that it will be open June 1st and at this point its on schedule, maybe a little ahead of schedule,” Mayor Gordon R. Canfield said.

The event will surely mean more than just any old day at the pool to all those involved.

“The ceremony will definitely be a special moment for the town as many people worked diligently to have this project completed and done well, since the decision to start it two years ago,” Canfield said.

The new aquatic center will replace a pool that had been around since the fifties, and although rejuvenated in the eighties, it was quickly aging. It was torn down two years ago as the construction on the new pool began.

“The old pool was cracked and leaked and the bathhouse facilities were literally crumpling away,” Canfield said.

The municipal swimming pool is the last part of a trio of new facilities geared to truly improve the town, along with the Drake Community Library that opened back in December and the public safety building that recently opened in January.
Citizens showed interest towards a revamping of the town when they voted in favor of a sales tax bond, from which proceeds would support these projects.

“We passed a sales tax bond issue, which passed with a 73 percent approval rating, which is the highest tax approval rating in the State of Iowa,” said Canfield.

Three and a third million dollars were collected through this sales tax for the aquatic center, but due to the project’s $5.5 million cost, there was over $2 million that was raised through private contributions.

Vision Iowa Program or I-Jobs, an $830 million, three-year investment in Iowa’s infrastructure encourages projects and new infrastructure, contributed $100,000, the second largest donation. Governor Culver was in Grinnell on Thursday, Feb. 18, discussing I-Jobs’ contribution and plans for around Iowa.

The Grinnell Mutual Research Center made the two largest donations with a contribution of $750,000. Due to Grinnell Mutual’s large contribution they were given naming rights.

The Municipal Pool will feature competitive swim lanes for high school students, a zero edge pool for young children and a “lazy river”a water ride that usually consists of a shallow (2 ½ ft. to 3 ½ ft.) pool that has a similar current to a river. There will also be several diving boards plus two slides.

“It’s going to be a magnificent facility it’s going to have all the bells and whistles that you need for a family aquatic center,” said Mayor Canfield.

As the opening nears, the Mayor is well aware of the escalating excitement, yet he wants all to know not to expect anything too radical. “Some people think the Mayor’s going to slide down the water slide, but I have news for them, I’m not,” Canfield said.

Economically, the pool will truly be a great boom for the town, with the number of jobs being created in construction, maintenance, concessions and lifeguard duty.

“When people look to move into a community they look for quality of life things, and the aquatic center is one very attractive thing that families with young children look for,” said Mayor Canfield.

The pool was built by Burbach Aquatics, which is located in Platteville, Wis. It will stay open from June 1 to the end of August and will be available to the general public.

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