Facility these days is in the best shape it's been in for many years.
It’s been written in this space before that it makes more sense for the City of Crookston to own the Community Swimming Pool than the Crookston School District, the current owner.
That opinion remains unchanged in this space today, for multiple reasons. For one, while one could possibly argue that swimming has an educational component because kids take swimming “lessons,” in actuality there’s nothing academic about swimming. It has nothing to do with school, even though the Pirates have a girls’ swimming team. It’s a physical skill everyone should learn.
Swimming is a recreational activity, and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the biggest departments under the City of Crookston umbrella is Parks and Recreation. That simple fact opens up a world of possibilities to raise the pool’s profile and maximize its daily and seasonal usage through expanded hours of operation and a wider-range of programming.
Swimming proponents need to focus on the current pool and only the current pool. While City leaders a couple years ago casually tossed out constructing an outdoor pool when they discussed potential significant investments to pursue in the community, it just doesn’t seem like a plausible possibility in the foreseeable future. Close the indoor pool in the summer and have an outdoor pool open in the summer months? Sounds easy enough to pull off, but it’s probably not. The same goes for putting a retractable roof on the current pool; the roof is brand new and not even fully paid for yet.
You have to wonder if the people who continue to complain about our current pool have set foot inside it lately. Due to a voter-approved, pool-specific referendum in the school district eight years ago, the pool is perhaps better now dating way back to its earliest days when it first opened. It’s much brighter in there and it’s less humid.
Now it just needs to be open more to the masses and used more by a variety of demographic groups. It has to be a safe, positive community asset that keeps its dedicated following but also attracts a bunch of new user groups through new and expanded programming. And, yes, there probably needs to be more time for just plain open swimming.
Aside from a few more exterior improvements to replace deteriorating brick and some additional electrical upgrades inside, the pool is primed for a bright future, as long as its budget is on solid footing. City ownership greatly decreases the chances of that ground giving way. City and School District leaders appear to be closer than ever to agreeing to an ownership transfer that works for both entities. Get that done, and then let’s see what’s possible.