City leaders consider long-range plan to replace the Pratt public pool.
Pratt city commissioners considered new pool options with Kyle McCawley, sr. project manager for Lamp Rynearson (formerly Larkin Aquatics) at their regular meeting last Monday, July 15.
McCawley said his company did an initial study on futuristic public pool plans for the City of Pratt, evaluating costs and possibilities in 2014. He presented a flow chart to help commissioners identify the steps needed to lay the groundwork for a new pool for Pratt in the future. Those steps included identifying funding sources, considering a new site or rebuilding on current site, starting a volunteer committee to gauge and evaluate citizen information about the options, and coordinating grant work for the project.
"Pratt has an atypically large body of water in their pool now," McCawley said. "There are advantages and disadvantages to that, when considering replacement options."
One advantage he listed of having a pool shaped and sized as Pratt's current pool is that only one filtration system is needed, saving on equipment costs. If a rebuild option were chosen that included a beach entry area safer for little ones or separate little pool, then two filtration systems should be considered. A disadvantage to rebuilding on the same spot with the same type of construction would be a longer closure time, at least 10-12 weeks for construction, with total process time of 30 weeks.
Public Works Director Russ Rambatt asked if the construction project could be split, even if the pool size was kept the same.
"Is it possible to rebuild just the guard house this season, in the same footprint without doing the actual pool until after next season?" Rambat asked.
McCawley said that is an option that could work, but commissioners could expect higher cost due to the construction crew having to move in and out twice, not just once.
Commissioner Zach Deeds asked if moving to a new site for the public pool might be something to consider and wondered if any other towns had done such a thing in the past, with advantageous results.
"What if we were to place a new pool in an area of town that is growing already, like in the area of our Green Sports Complex, where we could have greater pool attendance because of other sports events and families already in that area in summer?" Deeds asked.
McCawley said the regional draw of pool patrons because of other sports activities was an important consideration, but ultimately, the mission of any public pool is to serve it's own community first.
He said the town of Cimarron moved their pool only 1.5 blocks, but it was a positive economical move because then they could share a high school concession stand facility and did not have that rebuilding expense.
Commissioners noted that the city ball diamond improvements on the east side of Pratt were not in place when the 2014 pool replacement evaluation was first considered, and placing a new pool there could be advantageous to the city residents as well as visitors. McCawley said building on a "green site" was also an advantage because then construction would not to shut down the current pool if not completed by the time swim season started.
Mayor Doug Meyer said he thought the original pool had been built in 1932-34 so it was well past time to get a replacement option going.
In other business, the commissioners:
* approved the use of Green Sports Complex for the 3rd annual Oktoberfest to be held in Pratt, 5-10 p.m. on September 28, 2019
* heard a request from George Stevens representing the B-29 Bombers on the Prairie Museum for $20,000, to be put towards hiring a curator, expanding open hours, maintenance on gutter systems and sidewalk completion
* approved the purchase of a used loader and bucket for the street department, not to exceed $76,500
* discussed an abatement issue at 802 S. Taylor Street.