ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Cloquet City Council pushes pond proposal

Cloquet city councilors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to ask the Minnesota Department of Health whether they will authorize the city to repair the existing sand-bottom pond and permit it to operate.

Cloquet city councilors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to ask the Minnesota Department of Health whether they will authorize the city to repair the existing sand-bottom pond and permit it to operate.

"It's basically a second request to the state," said Brian Fritsinger, Cloquet city administrator.

In a move that surprised city officials, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a letter late last year that it is against any sand-bottom swimming proposal in Cloquet.

There is still no word on whether the department will take that stance against the other sand-bottom swim facilities around the state.

Passing the resolution should strengthen Cloquet's position in seeking to have the pond repaired, councilors said Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I think it will allow us to pursue it legislatively, to go to the governor and legislature with something that says we support this," said council member Neil Nemmers. "We want [the state's] blessing that they won't come after us ... and we won't do anything until they say they won't shut us down."

Council members also decided to proceed with legislative assistance to see if they can get language added to a Minnesota Department of Health bill stating that Cloquet's pond could be "grandfathered in," which would also allow pond restoration.

In addition, council members plan to work with Cloquet Parks Commission members to form an alternate plan in case the sand-bottom plan sinks once and for all.

"Basically, we'll be on a dual track planning process here so we can begin some level of improvements [this year]," Fritsinger said.

Those improvements could be as simple as removing any pond-related hazards at Pinehurst Park, which has been closed since 2005. Restoration work at the pond would include replacing the liner, sand, mechanicals and pipes.

"We need to have a backup plan," Nemmers said. "This is my 26th year on the council - probably my last - and I don't want a legacy of a mosquito-ridden swamp down there."

Mayor Bruce Ahlgren pointed out that making a decision soon would benefit the current economic development in the city.

"A pond or pool is an amenity to the city," he said. "They don't make money, but as far as economic development a pool is a positive factor."

ADVERTISEMENT

Pine Journal Editor Lisa Baumann can be contacted at: lbaumann@pinejournal.com .

Related Topics: CLOQUET
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.