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Splash parks will join pool renovation on special ballot

A pair of splash parks will join the ongoing swimming pool renovation city officials hope will be paid for by a proposed sales tax in East Grand Forks.

A pair of splash parks will join the ongoing swimming pool renovation city officials hope will be paid for by a proposed sales tax in East Grand Forks.

The City Council voted Tuesday to add the projects - estimated to cost a total of $604,000 - to its proposal, which already includes the $2.1 million pool renovation that started earlier this year.

If the tax is approved by residents, the splash pads would be built in Nash and O'Leary parks.

Just before the vote, Mayor Lynn Stauss said he wanted to make sure it was clear the city would not move forward with building the splash parks without sales tax money.

The council agreed that was the sentiment.

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"As the biggest proponent of this, I wouldn't want to move forward with this without that type of revenue," council member Marc DeMers said.

If constructed, the parks would be similar to others across the river in Grand Forks.They would feature structures that spray water for children to play in and be about 3,000 to 4,000 square feet in size.

Now that the splash parks have been added to the sale tax proposal, the council is left to schedule a date for a public vote and iron out other details. An amount and time frame for the sales tax have not been chosen, though half-cent and one-cent options over six or three years have been floated by council members.

Other news

• The council gave preliminary approval to the city sponsoring up to $15 million in bonds on behalf of American Crystal Sugar Co.

In the arrangement, American Crystal would assume all financial liability for the bonds and any other expenses encountered in the process, according to Jim Stewart, an attorney for the company. The money would be used to build solid waste disposal facilities at the company's East Grand Forks factory.

Sam Wai, the company's treasurer, said the facility would be used to compress sugar beet pulp into pellets that would be used for animal feed. Another part of the facility would compact mud and sludge that remains from beet processing for removal.

• The council also passed a resolution allowing the police department to repurpose a 2011 Dodge Charger for use as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program car.

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The car, which was forfeited as part of a drug investigation, would be driven to and from the city's four public schools by Nick Gunderson, the department's school resource officer.

Outfitting the car with lights and a siren is expected to cost less than $2,000, but Police Chief Mike Hedlund told the council last week that expenses beyond that amount could be covered by donations.

The car also will receive markings identifying it as a police car and a vehicle forfeited as part of a drug investigation.

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