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East Grand Forks city leaders recommend spending $1.56M on pool

An East Grand Forks City Council committee is recommending a $1.56 million improvement to the city's outdoor pool. The committee's plan calls for borrowing the money from the East Grand Forks Water & Light Department, the city-owned utility. ...

An East Grand Forks City Council committee is recommending a $1.56 million improvement to the city's outdoor pool.

The committee's plan calls for borrowing the money from the East Grand Forks Water & Light Department, the city-owned utility. The loan's interest will be 1.5 percent, about the same rate of return that Water & Light is receiving on its investments, administrator Scott Huizenga said.

"They're investing in the city, which I would argue is a good investment," Huizenga said.

Council members will discuss the plan at a work session at 4 p.m. today at City Hall. Barring unanticipated resistance, the council will vote on the plan Feb. 7. The council has borrowed from the utility before, to expedite flood buyouts and for repairs on the Civic Center.

The plan calls for work to begin when the pool closes in mid-August and end by June 1, 2013. So, the pool should have its usual season this year and next.

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In addition to fixing the pool, built in 1963, the work includes upgrades such as better quality water and private dressing rooms and showers.

"This is not just repairs, but also improvements and greater efficiencies," Council member Henry Tweten said.

"We don't want to load too much debt on the people in case future councils, future school boards and Northland (Community and Technical College) want to do something different, like an indoor pool," he said. "There's still flexibility for the future."

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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