Public Indoor Pool continues to languish

As you can see, the indoor pool that we ‘NEEDED’ doesn’t seem to know how to grow it’s numbers.

Just look at two numbers below. The yearly passes are only at a little over 400 for a town of 180K. What is even more revealing is that only ONE person seemed to be interested in a winter pass.

You will also see the deficit. At this trajectory, the indoor pool will see it’s greatest loss for the year since it has opened, around $600K.

Let’s face it, we didn’t need an indoor public pool. We have plenty of private facilities offering this. On top of that, the poor children of our community still can’t use the facility unless they have a benefactor, because FREE passes we give for the outdoor pools don’t apply to the indoor pool.

So we stole money from a Federal Levee repayment to build an indoor public pool on Federal Land (that we don’t own) so the swim teams (and not the poor kids) could have a place to go where the taxpayers would subsidize them at a tune of over $500K a year. Another failure of the past administration. They are piling up these days.



13 comments ↓

#1 Now, an "'Extremely' Stable Genius" on 05.25.19 at 11:44 pm

Although, it is nice when they are. I don’t think any government entity like an events center, a museum, an arts center, or a pool is suppose to be profitable. It is suppose to be there to serve the people to offer a service the private sector will not at a reasonable or a free price.

Now, one could definitely question if our Events Center in particular offers a product “at a reasonable or free price,” and the charging to visit our Arts Center go against these assumed intents; but when it comes to our pools, or more importantly the Aquatic Center, the location of that Aquatic Center denies the locals of that neighborhood the use of a close by pool, where a summer pass works in a neighborhood which is trending towards an influx of young families do to affordable housing in that area. Not to mention, that if we really need an indoor pool facility in this town: Why wasn’t Sanford just called upon to save the taxpayers money, allow the former Spellerberg pool to be updated, and to lend the Sanford Pentagon Sports Complex an other attractive facility?

I hate to be so harsh, but I am afraid the questionable quality of the construction of the Events Center, the emptiness of the railroad yard, the hole next to the bunker ramp, the new charging for the Arts Center, and the general swim pass denials at the Aquatic Center are at best Ceausescu in nature thanks to our former mayor, who is now “On the road….”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_the_Parliament

#2 Blasphemo on 05.26.19 at 10:59 am

At the end of the week prior to the final Tuesday Council Meeting vote to approve or kill construction of the Midco pool, Sanford Health announced THEY were initiating a study to build an indoor aquatic center at THEIR Sports Complex. Emergency meetings over that weekend between the city (Heuther) & Sanford (Krabbenhoft) killed that. The Sanford indoor pool study/initiative was never heard of again. 2 days later the following Tuesday, the City Council – including the “Abso-LUTE-ly YES!” exclamation from Diamond Jim Entenman as the final vote cast of his term – approved what would become the Midco pool. Thankfully Entenman got his just reward with a crushing mayoral election defeat after outspending all the other candidates. Karma is a bitch, Jimbo.

#3 On the road with me on 05.26.19 at 12:27 pm

Aren’t you glad we now have a gleaming pool big enough to suck the city budget dry?

#4 D@ily Spin on 05.26.19 at 2:17 pm

What’s lacking relative to city recreational projects is that there’s no marketing research in advance. Huether had pet projects he knew would not be viable. Yet, he spent public money and debt just to prove he had the power as reigning mayor. There should be a protective checks and balances system to protect the city from narcissist oligarchy imposed via Strong Mayor Charter. Perhaps bonding insurance that protects invested equity without addressing profit risk.

#5 D@ily Spin on 05.26.19 at 2:28 pm

I suggest painting over the ‘wall of shame’ and donate the facility and cloud on title property to the VA for half price settlement of the bonds. Federal money was improperly allocated and this is how to fix this matter.

#6 Lemming on 05.26.19 at 8:09 pm

So basically we the taxpayers are losing $60,000 a month so MMM could build his pool. Such a waste.

#7 l3wis on 05.26.19 at 9:26 pm

But we needed this, since like 1950!

#8 King Archie on 05.26.19 at 11:20 pm

Oh, even before that, I believe it was Hoover, who said: “A chicken in every pot and an indoor public pool in every city.”

#9 Blasphemo on 05.27.19 at 10:22 am

Daily Spin: I can’t speak to marketing research done prior to other projects, but the city did commission an aquatic study to substantiate their desire for an indoor pool. Naturally, it supported the construction & location 100%. After all, the customer is always right. So, when an entity pays for a pricey study like that, they ought to hear what it is they want to hear, right?

#10 D@ily Spin on 05.27.19 at 2:37 pm

In other words, a marketing study is a sophisticated bribe. Huether left the city deep in debt. Now there’s also a 5 story parking garage with no purpose. The budget has become monthly minimum payments. The Ag economy is in a slump. Stores at the mall closing. During the Great Depression, homeless lived in shanty towns called Hooverville. Perhaps the useless parking garage can become a Huetherville.

#11 Seney Island Ethusiast on 05.27.19 at 3:20 pm

It’s all up to Dillard’s. If they never show, then the camels back has been broken in this town……#TraderJoes&NineteenStorySkyscrapers

#12 JC on 01.25.20 at 10:51 am

I stumbled across this blog after typing a letter of frustration to the Parks and Rec Dept. We are from Watetown and we’re boycotting a swim meet held at the Midco Aquatic Center this weekend due to parking issues and a lack of seating.

As the parent of a competitive swimmer, I can tell you that Sioux Falls did indeed need a new facility. The Sioux Falls Seals and Snowfox used to host meets at the old YWCA downtown. It got to the point where almost no one from the very large Watertown Swim Club attended meets in your city. Visiting teams encountered both parking and seating issues. Parents sat on lawn chairs in a cold gymnasium with leaky windows while they waited between events. Wet swimmers froze while they waited to compete. The pool itself only had five lanes. Most competitive pools have eight or more lanes. Meets take longer and teams are forced to offer fewer events when there are only five lanes. The goal of any swimmer is cut time. My child would cut time in all other pools but add time when competing in Sioux Falls. His coach explained that the small size of the pool caused waves made by the swimmer to bounce back from the wall. Essentially, swimmers were swimming against their own wake. There was also the problem of finding enough time slots for swim teams, lap swimmers, swimming lessons and open swim. When we became involved in swimming nine years ago, I was very surprised to learn that a city the size of Sioux Falls didn’t have a better indoor facility. Yankton, Pierre and Aberdeen actually had better indoor facilities. The winter (short course) swim season is about twice as long as the summer (long course) season. Indoor facilities are very important. We were very happy to hear the announcement that a new pool was to be built. Unfortunately, our happiness was temporary. I believe part of the issue with attendance at your new pool is that the construction really didn’t solve any of the problems present at the old facility. There is still no place to park. In fact, the parking situation is worse. When meets were held downtown, it was possible to park in ramps that were unused by businesses on weekends. The current lot is shared by the parents of a very large home swim team, people using the sledding hill and leisure pool patrons. I am tired of playing the parking game where you troll around for 20 minutes trying to find a spot, only to race to an open spot and “lose” to someone else at the last second. Street parking is also problematic. Parking is only allowed on one side of the street and threats are made over the PA at meets about towing. This is compounded in the winter when plowing requires people to move their cars. After making two trips from distant residential streets last year in sub-zero temperatures due to two parking attempts, I decided I was done attending meets in Sioux Falls during the winter.

There is a large grassy area to the north of the current pool that appears to be unused. I am wondering why this space isn’t converted to parking? I have yet to see anyone using this space.

The second issue with the new pool is lack of seating. There simply aren’t enough bleachers to handle spectators. When Sioux Falls hosted the state swim meet last winter, parents were actually standing along both walls of the downstairs hallway while they waited for their child to swim. When it was their child’s turn to swim, they’d climb the stairs and stand along the back wall hoping to catch a glimpse of their child swimming. Again, I’ve been to indoor meets in Pierre, Aberdeen, Yankton, Marshall, Brookings, Fargo and West Fargo. At no other meet have I ever witnessed parents having to stand in a hallway for the duration of a meet.

You are absolutely correct that a new facility should have been built on the outskirts of town. Seating should also have been constructed along BOTH sides of the pool, as is the case at the new West Fargo pool.

The Midco Aquatic Center is a very unwelcoming pool for visiting teams.

#13 l3wis on 01.25.20 at 1:00 pm

Thank you for your comments. That was always my beef with the MAC, too small of a space.