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Splash parks out for East Grand Forks, $2.1 million pool renovation still in

Two splash parks proposed for a sales tax vote in East Grand Forks are now off the table. The City Council voted at a special meeting Monday to remove the splash parks from the ballot, leaving the city's $2.1 million swimming pool renovation as t...

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FILE PHOTO: East Grand Forks Public Pool. (Logan Werlinger/Grand Forks Herald)

Two splash parks proposed for a sales tax vote in East Grand Forks are now off the table.

The City Council voted at a special meeting Monday to remove the splash parks from the ballot, leaving the city's $2.1 million swimming pool renovation as the project they hope voters will approve a sales tax to fund.

Mayor Lynn Stauss and several council members said they had heard negative feedback from residents about the splash park project, which proposed the construction of two splash pads in the city for about $697,000.

"They said the swimming pool is enough and that is by far the way people talked to me-no splash parks," Stauss said. He added some residents didn't want to see city maintenance costs rise if the parks were built.

The council had debated whether the pool and splash parks should be placed on the ballot as separate questions. That option had initial support from some on the council but failed to gain steam.

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"I think if there are two questions on the ballot, the splash parks will fail and the pool will pass," council member Mike Pokrzywinski said. "I don't want to have a vote where the splash parks fail and people say, 'We said no to splash parks.' "

The council approved the ballot question without the splash parks by a vote of 5-1. The dissenting vote was made by council member Marc DeMers, who proposed the splash parks be added to the ballot.

If approved by voters, the 1 percent tax would last five years.

The council also approved a new date for the sales tax vote. A missed filing deadline required the city to push back the special election date to March 7.

The city needed to have ballot questions finalized last week in order to submit them for absentee ballots to keep the election on Feb. 29, City Executive Assistant Megan Nelson said. The council wanted more time to discuss those questions, so the decision was made to delay the election.

The election will be conducted by mail-in ballot, which will be sent to registered voters no earlier than 46 days and no later than 14 days before the election date.

Eligible voters who have not registered to vote must do so before Feb. 12 in order to receive a ballot.

A physical polling location will be open in the city's administrative offices the day of the vote from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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