A De Pere pool will likely remain closed for a long time after experiencing severe structural damage. Kris Schuller reports it is one of two aging pools – whose fates will be decided by voters this fall.
At VFW Pool – the pool deck is mangled, cracked and broken.
“This is a huge blow to our city and this neighborhood,” said Parks Director Marty Kosobucki.
It is $800,000 of structural damage that many fear could mean the end of this facility.
“It’s major structural damage unfortunately,” he said.
Kosobucki says as water was being removed from the pool for the season, the deep well lifted up six inches to two feet – caused by pressure from ground water underneath the structure, that should have drained away.
“We do believe our drain tile, relief system failed as we were draining the pool – then the diving well had no counter to that pressure from the ground water and then it just lifted out of the ground,” explained Kosobucki.
For the city, the damage comes months before a binding referendum in November, to see if the public wants to operate new pools at VFW and Legion parks. A vote approved after lobbying by the group – Save Legion Pool.
“In a way, the referendum is perfect timing to raise some money and get VFW running again in the near future,” said Betsy Hornseth from Save Legion Pool.
But according to Alderman Dean Raasch that referendum first needs to pass and he has doubts.
“I don’t know how De Pere is going to react to the fact that we could be raising taxes as much as $900,000 a year for quite a long while,” Raasch said.
And if it passes – planning for new pools could take years.
“We could still be three, four, five years out before we build something,” Raasch said.
Meaning VFW Pool could be closed for some time. And perhaps much longer based on the results of November’s vote.