Hit The Beach starting Friday in Cloquet
Although The Beach in Cloquet doesn't officially open until July 3, two brave children took the plunge last week. "I thought someone should get in and test the water before the general public comes in," said Laurie Anderson, who works in the city...
Although The Beach in Cloquet doesn't officially open until July 3, two brave children took the plunge last week.
"I thought someone should get in and test the water before the general public comes in," said Laurie Anderson, who works in the city's engineering department.
So they took 2-year-old Garek Plinski, Anderson's grandson, and 3-year-old Jamis Halverson, son of city employee Brent Halverson, to the facility last Wednesday to do some test runs on the frog slide. All went well until Plinski climbed to the top of the slide the first time.
"He was a little scared and it took a little push from his dad, but once he slid down, he absolutely adored it and didn't want to stop," she said. "It's safe to say he'd give it two thumbs up."
Since last week, the water has been ready for swimming and all preliminary testing has been completed. The water, which is heated by the sun, was also a temperate 74 degrees for Plinski's test swim. Without the sun this week, the water temperature has dipped and officials are hoping the sun is back by opening day.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday saw more people wearing jackets than swimsuits as the air temperature struggled to reach 60 degrees. After the ribbon was cut, a plaque was given to Jerry Olson and Ben Anderson, two of the "Bandshell Boys," who banned together to make sure the bandshell - located next to the pond and built in 1940 - received a proper renovation in the past year as well. Many attending the ribbon-cutting enjoyed poking around inside the bandshell, where the temperature was warmer.
Fortunately for swimmers, the forecast for opening day is 70 and mostly sunny.
"We will be ready to go Friday at 11 a.m.," said Sara Liimatainen, director of Cloquet Community Education and Recreation. "The lifeguards have been trained, the cashiers are in training and the food comes [Wednesday]."
Some 120 summer passes have already been sold, which achieves the goal for the number sold set by Community Education. Day and summer passes will be sold at the facility and people can purchase food and beverages from the concessions stand. While it opens July 3, the grand opening festivities will take place July 4, starting around noon and going until 9 p.m. with food and beverage specials, a DJ, a multitude of games and a teen party in the evening.
"I think kids and parents will have a great time on the fourth," Liimatainen said. "We'll have something for everyone."
The swimming pond originally opened in June 1978 and closed in 2005 due to substantial deterioration.
Season swim passes are $79 per family and $49 per individual. Daily admission is $3 per person. A computer photo identification system will be used for check-in, Liimatainen said.
The hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Aug. 17 when the hours change to noon to 4 p.m. The last day to swim is Sept. 4.
The city plans to pay for the $1.5 million facility through Build America bonds under the state's tax abatement bonding authority. There will be a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at city hall to discuss the proposed tax abatement.
For more information about The Beach, visit www.CloquetCommunityEd.com and click on "The Beach at Pinehurst."