Friday - February 3, 2017 4:06 am

Neighborhood group surrounding Memorial Pool says study finds people want the pool to remain Featured

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Pool, closed for over a year, has been debated intensely over its future.

The people in La Crosse may have spoken, and they apparently want the pool to stay put. 

Whether they'll be heard, however, is not guaranteed.

Memorial Pool, on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus, has been closed for a year and a half due to costly needed upgrades.

A new study funded by the Grandview Emerson Neighborhood, which surrounds the pool, has found that a majority of the city wants the 80-year-old pool remain at UW-L.

Jacob Sciammas, from the association, is hopeful the study will get some consideration. Actually, they're hopeful for something more tangible than that.

"We continue to hope that work will be done in the fall in some way, shape or form to prepare for construction in the beginning of 2018," Sciammas said.

In La Crosse, there are already two other pools - Erickson Pool (2.4 miles from Memorial's location) and the North Side Community Pool (3.5 miles from Memorial's location in the other direction). There are also outdoor pools in Onalaska (7.6 miles) and La Crescent (5.3 miles). And, of course, the area has multiple beaches.

But, since Memorial Pool has shut down, it's been the focus of intense debate. There have been multiple studies and surveys to see how much repairing and replacing the pool would cost and what residents think about multiple aspects of a pool. There have been committees to discuss all things pool, as well.

In June, the city paid Burbach Aquatics $4,950 for a feasibility study, which concluded that replacing the pool - not fixing it - would be the best route. The firm determined replacing the pool would cost $4.4 million, while fixing it would cost $3.9 million (fixes that wouldn't last as long as a new pool).

Here's a look at the detailed 56-page report from Burbach.

The pool, which has leaked massive amounts of water for years - estimates were originally thought to be around 7,500 gallons a day, but engineers said it was more like 18,000 gallons - was officially closed back in May of 2016.

Here are just a few of the recommendations from BAI's report: 

  • Replace the failed wall sections, approximately 34 sections.
  • Replace areas of deterioration.
  • Replace entire pool decking.
  • Replace surge tank.
  • Replace gutter system.
  • Replace main drain system.
  • Replace filter system ASAP, safety hazard.
  • Replace all pumps.
  • Replace/renovate bathhouse to current design standards and building codes.
  • Replace mechanical system electrical.

The city also conducted a $20,000 survey from 3,000 La Crosse residents about pools, swimming and other things water related.

Some examples of survey questions included:

  • What kind of pool do you use - whether it's a beach or a pool?
  • How frequently you use that pool? 
  • What do you use that pool for, recreational, therapeutic?

The Grandview Emerson Neighborhood Association then started doing its own work studying the pool. 

First, it spent $2,000 on an initial study, then raise around $4,000 to pay Michigan-based Isaac Sports Group (ISG) to finish a pool assessment. That report offered four choices for the pool, including a $3 million option - which was for a pool 40 percent smaller than what Memorial Pool is now.

All, in hopes of reopening the pool in the same location that is within its neighborhood.

"2018 is the 80th anniversary of Memorial Pool's opening," Sciammas pointed out. "Wouldn't that be amazing, if we could have the pool open in that time?"

Last modified on Friday - February 3, 2017 4:30 am
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