It’s no secret, school board chair says, that several district leaders would prefer that the City own the facility

    Pat Thomas’ back and forth and back again tour of talking about the future of the Crookston Community Swimming Pool brought her to the Crookston School Board meeting Monday, where she continued to press school district leaders and City of Crookston leaders to sit down and figure out the best way for the school district to transfer ownership of the facility to the City.

    Thomas first voiced her concerns about the future of the swimming pool to Superintendent Chris Bates earlier this month, who, she said, told her to talk to City Administrator Shannon Stassen. So Thomas, accompanied by Pearl Maygra, spoke at the city council’s Ways & Means Committee meeting a couple weeks ago, and she was told there to take her concerns to the school board.

    The Crookston School District owns the swimming pool, and a 10-year, pool-revenue-specific voter-approved referendum has resulted in major improvements to the facility and still has a few years left of referendum revenue coming in. But Bates and some board members have in the past and continue to make no secret of their desire to find a suitable way to transfer ownership of the pool to the City. The City already contributes approximately $67,000 to the pool each year to help balance its budget.

    Pool Manager Cody Brekken is currently deployed with the National Guard to Washington, D.C. Thomas has said during her recent talks with local officials that Brekken was doing a tremendous job before he left and that he’ll resume his excellent work when he returns in the spring of 2018. So with City ownership, Brekken running the facility that’s benefited from improvements made possible by the referendum, Thomas said the pool will be strategically positioned for long-term success.

    But she doesn’t see any reason for school district and City officials to wait around before discussing the pool’s long-term future.

    “It would be nice if people could start working on something now and not later,” Thomas said. “Sometimes people don’t move until they’re forced to, and when that happens they do things in haste.”

    School Board Chair Frank Fee acknowledged that a “lot of board members” would like to find a way to transfer ownership of the pool to the City. Leaders of the two entities have discussed the subject before, he said, and he hopes to have more discussions.

    “I think we’ll keep working with them,” Fee said. “If it can work out, great, but we have to make sure we enter into an agreement we can live with in the future.”