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Spend a day at The Beach this Fourth of July weekend

If the weather cooperates, July 4 promises to be a great day to spend at "The Beach," Cloquet's sand-bottomed pond in Pinehurst Park. Following the parade (which starts at noon), Pool Manager Frank Bartsch promised games and races for all ages, p...

Lexus Lafontaine
Lexus Lafontaine, 3 (pink with yellow trim), and Lilly Erkkila, 3, happily slide into Grandma Kathy Lafontaine's waiting arms Tuesday, June 22. Grandma said it was such a nice day, they had to go to the pool. She hadn't planned to get wet, but the girls wouldn't go down the slide unless she was waiting at the bottom. Jana Peterson/jpeterson@pinejournal.com

If the weather cooperates, July 4 promises to be a great day to spend at "The Beach," Cloquet's sand-bottomed pond in Pinehurst Park. Following the parade (which starts at noon), Pool Manager Frank Bartsch promised games and races for all ages, plus some very affordable treats.

"We'll have root beer floats for 50 cents, hot dogs and chips for $1.50," he said. "There will be a sand design contest (think sand castles, but not limited to castles), digging for dollars (well, poker chips), limbo and a DJ all afternoon - pretty much something for everyone."

So far this season, Bartsch said, things are going well. Sales of season passes are up significantly. Attendance is also good, despite a number of cool or rainy days, with the average attendance per day at 300.

While things are going "swimmingly" operationally, city officials suspect the facility is still leaking, even after repairs.

"We did some system testing this spring and the contractor did make some repairs in the deep end," said Assistant City Engineer Caleb Peterson. "At this point, we're not convinced that solved the issue."

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The leak isn't new. In May, Bartsch speculated that the leak is the result of the contractor, Hallbar Construction, skipping a process.

Peterson said Hallbar has been very cooperative, but no one is certain how or where the leak is occurring.

"Right now we're putting together an action plan for this fall," Peterson said, adding they are tracking water levels but it isn't possible to address the problem while the facility is in use.

Peterson said it's difficult to say exactly how much water is leaking, but he estimated it's in the range of about a half inch in depth or about 10,000 gallons per day.

While the water loss isn't as bad as it was before the pond was remodeled, it still adds up.

Because it was leaking all last year, those involved now believe the pond might have operated at a break-even level or made a profit if not for leak-related water bills. In its first season, The Beach came close to break-even with approximately $72,000 in expenses and nearly $65,000 in revenue.

Bartsch said sales so far this season have far exceeded last year already.

"Season-pass sales haven't been affected by the weather," he said, putting the number of passes sold so far at a conservative 265, including both family and individual passes.

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Season passes are still available for $79 for a family pass or $49 for an individual pass. Passes may be purchased at The Beach or online at www.cloquet . k12.mn.us/communityed.cfm.

Related Topics: CLOQUET
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