Community Update – The rest of the Mead Pool story
During my 2014 State of the City Address, I discussed our community’s need to explore sustainable approaches to upgrading our local aquatics offerings. That need became more apparent last week, when Inspectors from the Wood County Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Health Services examined Mead Pool and found a number of health and safety hazards stemming from frost and high groundwater levels that lifted the pool basin out of the ground. Following their on-site inspection of the pool, these agencies moved the pool operational permit to a “Conditional” status.
The good news is that “Conditional” status provides us the opportunity to evaluate the hazards, formulate a plan to address them for a potential opening of Mead Pool for 2016.
To begin the process of potentially reactivating our pool permit, City staff has contacted various suggested contractors to perform a required engineering review that would cover currently identified areas of concern, as well as problems that may not have not yet have been detected. This review will provide the information we will need to identify the likely cost of making the necessary repairs that would allow us to re-open the pool for one more year in 2016. Following a review of the findings and associated costs, the City will consider making the improvements to satisfy the ‘Conditions’ placed by the inspectors.
Of course, this review-and-repair process represents is a short-term fix to our community’s aquatics issues. For some time, I have advocated that we as a community invest in our collective quality of life, through the creation of a place to nurture the potential of children and families through youth development, while helping to improve the health and well-being of all our citizens, both now and in the future. City Commits to Public Aquatics Last December, the City Council reaffirmed it’s commitment to providing public access to aquatics.
In 2014, the John E. Alexander South Wood County YMCA announced plans to construct and operate a new facility in Wisconsin Rapids. While the original site is no longer under consideration, I was thrilled that, after its acquisition earlier this year of Riverview Hospital, Aspirus continued its commitment to the proposed partnership with the YMCA. The City, with the approval and support of the City Council and the Park & Recreation Commission, continues to pursue a partnership with the YMCA on public access to the aquatics portion of a facility under consideration.
As your Mayor, I pledge to continue leading our City’s pursuit of other creative collaborations to provide a long-term solution to our aquatics needs. We will share more as information becomes available as well as opportunities to participate in any public meetings on the subject.