Despite the irony of too much water pushing back the pool’s progress, the reopening of Spring Lake Park Swim Facility wasn’t dampened by the delay.
The hundreds of people who turned out Wednesday were evidence of the excitement surrounding the grand opening.
Area residents have cause to celebrate and should realize — despite the extremely wet spring and summer causing months of construction delays — that careful planning is behind the success of this renovation project.
North Mankato city staff and officials have looked into upgrading the 1969 swimming facility since March 2017. The project hit a wall that fall when a single contractor bid on the project for $2.8 million, about $1 million higher than the estimate. So the city had to regroup. By 2018 the situation was brighter when other projects came in under budget so that savings could go toward the pool renovation, which cost about $3.2 million.
North Mankato city officials monitored the pulse of the community for a long time to determine priorities. Spring Lake Park is the gem of lower North Mankato, and its upkeep and renovation have been high on the to-do list. Pool planning included an emphasis on family-friendly amenities, including a zip line, climbing wall, lily pads and multiple slides. Beach chairs and new large colorful umbrellas add to the fun ambiance. And the sand bottom has been replaced by a PVC liner, which will make for a cleaner, clearer swimming experience.
Last winter a new warming house opened in the park near updated ice rinks, helping to solidify that the park, now with the improved pool, is an all-season draw that can attract visitors far and wide.
It’s been a long wait for the pool’s opening, but a shortened season will make next summer’s full schedule all the more sweet.
Admission to the pool, 641 Webster Ave., is $2 for North Mankato residents and $5 for non-residents. Hours are 1-7 p.m. daily, weather permitting, through Aug. 25, although the city says that is subject to change.