Swimming at Pinehurst to start July 3Plan to take your first plunge in the revamped Pinehurst pond on Friday, July 3.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Plan to take your first plunge in the revamped Pinehurst pond on Friday, July 3.
That's the date it's slated to open, and all is on schedule, according to Cloquet City Administrator Brian Fritsinger.
"With the nicer weather, I've heard they are actually a little ahead of schedule," he said.
The Cloquet Parks Commission and City Council both met this week and approved hours of operation and rates for the abbreviated season to run through Sept. 4.
While a few details are yet to be determined, an all-day pass – from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. – will cost $3 per person, or $2.50 per person for groups of 10 or more.
A single season pass will cost $44, while a family pass will run $79. Discounts on season passes are available before June 15.
"I think [the prices] look fair," said city council member David Bjerkness at their regular meeting Tuesday.
Council member Erik Blesener asked if the Parks Commission had considered higher rates for visitors who come from outside the Cloquet area and won't pay taxes incurred from repairing the facility.
"I understand some others do that," he said.
Blesener also thought a group corporate rate could be considered for transferable passes. Councilors approved sending those ideas back to the Commission for consideration, although Bjerkness was not convinced that visitors should be charged more than locals.
"Part of the goal is to attract visitors to Cloquet from a tourism standpoint," he countered. "Let's consider that before penalizing [people] for visiting our community."
Costs were scrutinized by the Parks Commission and the group tried to balance bringing in revenue with keeping prices family-friendly, especially for season passes, according to Cloquet Community Education Director Sara Liimatainen. The Community Education department will oversee pond operations.
Unfortunately, the pond has never pulled in a profit, according to Fritsinger, who said the operation would likely lose approximately $60,000 this year.
"With increased maintenance costs to kick in next year, the pond's operation will likely need to be subsidized by the city at a cost of between $40,000 to $60,000 per year," he said. "It was never projected to turn a profit."
The original swimming pond, built 1976, was closed in 2005 due to deterioration.
Hallbar Construction from Excelsior, Minn., was awarded the project last October and work has been ongoing. Some of the required repair included site grading to control run-off, dead tree removal as well as removal of trees dropping debris into the pond, a new pond liner, sand, skimmer components, water circulation equipment, chlorine system, pH adjustment system, new equipment room piping and valves, and fresh paint on the walls of the pond.
The facility will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will have a hard path from the bathhouse to the pond and accessible fixtures. The bathhouse's renovation includes new lights, enclosed mechanical equipment, paint and a non-slip surface.
The total project cost with new features – kiddie slides, a concessions building and seating area – is approximately $1,378,500.
Councilors last year unanimously approved using a 20-year bond sale to fund the project, but ruled out putting it to a referendum vote. They did not address the bond issue at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Pinehurst Bandshell has also been renovated, with $25,000 in funding from the city and $25,000 from the Pinehurst Pond Working Group. That project was completed late last November and included replacing the roof and painting, among other tasks.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled at the swimming pond on July 4 and will begin after the parade that day, in which life guards will ride on a float, according to Liimatainen.
"I think that [pond] is going to be ridiculously packed for at least the first month," said Parks Commission member Tony Bastien at a meeting Monday. "I know people in Duluth who can't wait to come here and spend the day."
Parks Commissioners agreed they'd know a lot more about pricing and operations after the end of the first season.