Facility will officially become City of Crookston property on July 1

    Changes are in store for the Crookston Community Pool now that the ownership of the facility is only a couple weeks away from being officially transferred from the Crookston School District to the City of Crookston.  

    Scott Riopelle, director of Parks and Recreation, led the Park Board meeting this week, held at the pool, focusing on gleaning the public’s opinion on what changes need to be made.

    Members of city council Mayor Guy Martin were present, along with members of the community who wanted to add their input. The meeting started in the entrance hallway of the building.

    Trish Erdmann said that she started working at the pool on the day it opened, and that she is very passionate about the pool.

    “The pool saves lives.” Erdmann said.

    Erdmann suggested that bright lights be put outside entrances of the pool. She noted that a lot of people walk around or park in the pool parking lot area, and that young lifeguards don’t feel safe leaving the pool alone late at night when there is very little light.

    “It is a need, because no one feels really safe when they leave here.” Erdmann said.

    Riopelle said he would talk to some people from Otter Tail Power Company.

    Pat Thomas, a community member and senior citizen, mentioned that the pool has an agreement with insurance companies that allows senior citizens to use the pool for only $6 a month, as long as they go at least 10 times a month. She said that the pool might benefit from advertising to senior citizens to increase use of the facilities.

    Meeting attendees visited just about every area at the pool during the meeting.    Erdmann said that although the tiles in the pool room look dirty, they can’t get them any cleaner, as the tiles are stained as a result of draining issues. She said that they have a good cleaning machine, but the floor can only get so clean. The pipes underneath are 40 years old, which might be why it doesn’t drain well, Erdmann said.

    Riopelle said they are planning to purchase a special type of powerful machine that could help to clean the floors and much more. The machine is a one-step pressure washer that cleans, sucks up waste and disinfects as it goes. It can be used for toilets, floors, and more. Crookston Sports Center also has one of these machines, he noted.  

    Erdmann mentioned that the door that leads to the patio is not connected at the top as it should be, and only has brackets on the side. She also said that the back door is solid, but corroded and difficult to open.

    Joe Wodarek, manager of the pool while Cody Brekken was away on military duty, disagreed, saying he had never had any trouble with it before.

    The group then moved to the men’s locker room.

    Riopelle started with the showers. Currently, there are four shower pillars with four shower heads on each pillar, equaling 16 showers. Many are missing handles or not working, so there are not actually16 showers at the moment. There are also no handicapped showers, something that will be added with renovations. He also said that they are thinking about choosing shower stations that have push buttons with timers to reduce excessive water use.

    Erdmann added that this would detract from wear and tear inflicted by kids pulling on the shower handles.

    Riopelle said it would cost about $15,000 to redo all four stations in one locker room, not counting installation. He said they plan on redoing two in each room, then eventually completing all four.  

    He also said they are considering getting rid of the pillars, and instead installing shower heads along the walls of the shower area. They will compare prices and consider both, Riopelle said.

    The lockers in the locker rooms are mostly intact. A few are broken, but they are not used very often, so it is not a huge issue, the group agreed. It was mentioned that they will need to be replaced in the future, but not right away.

    The group also talked briefly about one broken light in the men’s locker room. Erdmann talked about how the locker rooms are uncomfortably cold in the morning, and that more heat would be nice.

    “If you mess with heat on one side, you end up messing with the temperature on the other side,” Wodarek said. The other side of the locker rooms is the pool room.

    Finally, Erdmann said that handicap bars are necessary along the wall entering the locker room and along at least one of the shower area walls, as there are many senior and/or recovering/rehabbing community members who use the pool and need something to hold on to so that they do not slip.

    Next, the group moved to the women’s locker room.

    Riopelle asked if the women’s locker room needed any partitions in the shower or changing areas so that women could have more privacy. The group said partitions probably aren’t necessary.

    Erdmann said that the entryways, meant to provide privacy, are wasted space in the locker rooms.

    She also said that there is one water fountain in the pool that works, which meets the requirement, but that is all that they need.

    Wodarek mentioned that the water fountain water and shower water are connected, so if you take a drink of water while someone else is showering, the drinking water will be warm.

    On the way to the community room, the group walked through the pool area again, and Wodarek said that dirt falls down onto the tiles from rotten panels in the ceiling.

    The community room houses a small kitchen, a bulletin board, a table and some chairs, and some chemicals. It was once used for small classes. It is also next to a machinery room, which makes it extremely loud. The room could plausibly be used for classes or parties, but in order to be used, the door to the machinery room would have to be closed to lessen the noise, meaning a second eye wash station would have to be purchased for the machinery room.

    Finally, the group walked outside and around the building. They talked about possibly painting the building and adding a new sign.

    Erdmann said that all windows, doors, and doorknobs are the same from when the pool was built 40 years ago and may need to be replaced. A cosmetic issue that also may need to be fixed is the wooden window braces in the front of the pool that look as if they are decaying. There are also two large pine trees in the front of the building that most of the group agreed are ugly.

    Around the building, there are a few holes in the brick walls that are a result of deterioration. In the past, they have been replaced with glass bricks or covered with metal sheets.

    Becky Kofoed said that it would be good to label all of the doors in the pool, both on the inside and outside with matching numbers.

    When asked about management of the pool, Riopelle said that Brekken will continue to supervise, and will be on the same level as Parks and Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt.