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Fix it up or build new? Byron deciding future of community pool

A committee of volunteers is working with the city of Byron and Burbach Aquatics to decide what to do with the town's 32-year-old pool.

Posted: Jun 13, 2019 8:19 AM

BYRON, Minn. - It's no secret that Byron's community pool, which was built in 1987, may need an upgrade. But what kind of upgrade is the question. 

Amanda Wellner runs a daycare in town and told KIMT why she doesn't bring the kids to the pool during summer. 

"It's small, obviously like I said there's no baby pool, it's just totally outdated," she said. 

Byron mom, Andrea Gedge, agrees. 

"Normally, we're not really at the Byron pool. There's not a whole lot there," Gedge said. 

The two, much like many others in town, opt to drive to Stewartville or Kasson for their pools and aquatic centers that are bigger and have fun amenities like slides. 

The city of Byron is trying to change that. It created a pool committee made up of volunteer residents to help decide whether the old pool should be fixed up or if a new one should be built. 

The city has contracted with Burbach Aquatic Inc., which is showing the pool committee all of its options including the pros and cons of an indoor or outdoor pool, added amenities, how big a community pool should be and more. 

There's no word yet on what the committee is deciding but talk of the process is already making a splash on social media with many people saying tax dollars should be used to address other issues like road conditions first. 

"The taxes are a concern of course," Wellner said. "Honestly I'd rather have a community pool than better roads. It gives people a place to go. We have a pool, but if there was something better for them, kids would stay out of trouble."

The city said a pool can bring great benefits to a town like recreation, promoting health, education and bringing competition, something Gedge agrees with. 

"If you go to the Kasson pool or the Stewartville, the place is packed. I mean just packed. I would just bring a lot more people, even to Byron," she said. 

There is no budget for the project. After going through all the possible options, Byron City Council wants the pool committee to come to them with their proposal. From there, the city will figure out how to finance it and see if there are amenities that need to be taken away to cut back costs. 

The pool committee is expected to have its recommendation by the end of July. A referendum vote could come as early as November of this year. 

The pool committee meets two Thursdays every month in the basement of City Hall at 6pm. Anyone interested in the planning process is encouraged to come to the meeting. The next one will be Thursday, June 20. 

To learn more about the project, click here

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