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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council agenda for Monday evening includes a discussion about possibly opening the Silver Lake swimming pool this summer.

The Rochester Park Board last fall recommended permanently closing the outdoor swimming facility because of declining attendance and the high costs associated with repairing and replacing the equipment needed to operate the 62-year-old pool. An earlier report put the average daily attendance at the pool at around 70 people in 2019, which was the last year it was open. It also stated that a 2017 facility assessment identified nearly $900,000 in upgrades needed to address the aging structure and bring it up to current building and health codes.

City of Rochester photo

Since then, an online petition has been launched by a group of citizens that calls on the city to reopen the pool this year and eventually replace it with an aquatics center. Over 1000 people have signed the petition in the past several weeks.

“The Rochester Parks and Recreation Department wants to Close the Silver Lake Pool forever and replace it with splash pads throughout the city. We feel splash pads only will service a small portion of our ever-growing diverse population and does not give the opportunity to learn how to swim.

 

We would like to get the pool open this year and have it replaced in the future with an Aquatic facility with many more amenities to better serve the needs of our community.”

City of Rochester photo

According to the City Council agenda, it is estimated the city will need to spend at least $50,000 to make basic temporary repairs needed to reopen the pool and keep it open through the summer. That money would also cover the cost of repairs needed at the Soldiers Field pool. An additional $45,000 would have to be appropriated to cover the day-to-day operational costs of just the Silver Lake pool.

If the City Council decides to support a one-time reopening of the Silver Lake pool this year, the issue will be taken up by the Park Board on Tuesday.

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