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Delay results in enlarged water slide

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

(Photo)
A new water slide is planned for the McCook Municipal Pool.
(Courtesy graphic)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The sales tax-funded $180,000 water slide that was anticipated to be built at the McCook swimming pool this summer may be delayed.

Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff told the Parks Advisory Board that the company he had been working with on the project had apparently gone out of business. Potthoff explained Thursday afternoon that the new company he was working with would be targeting a mid-to-late pool season completion, as a "best- case" scenario.

The designs for the project have changed from constructing two smaller slides to the construction of a larger single slide. The slide is now projected to be just over 19 feet high and 140 feet long, requiring the pumping of 800 gallons of water a minute.

Potthoff said he was concerned about the pumping requirement of the new design, as the company has proposed it be tied into the existing water pumping system at the pool. Potthoff said he didn't believe the existing system could handle an additional 800 gallons so he has asked the design company for stand-alone pumping system options, similar to what the former company had provided.

Board member Michelle Gonzales said she thought the slide was a good thing for the pool, but added that she was concerned with the pool not being open at times. "They seem to shut down a lot when they could be open," said Gonzales. Potthoff replied that city staff would keep a close eye on it and said he would be truly surprised if the pool could ever get to a profitable position.

The McCook swimming pool will also be purchasing portable handicap accessibility equipment to comply with new Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, according to Potthoff. The new equipment is estimated to cost $6,000 and will have the ability to be easily moved in order to meet requirements for both the larger and medium sized pool at the location. Lifting capacity is estimated to be at 450 pounds for the new equipment.

The slide at Norris Park was removed after the manufacturer, Landscape Structures, informed city staff it no longer met safety requirements. Potthoff explained to the parks board that the manufacturer had informed him the slide was previously classified as a glider, intended to simulate the effect of sliding down a bannister handrail. They had communicated that recent changes to safety guidelines reclassified the piece of playground equipment to that of a slide, which resulted in it no longer meeting requirements.

Potthoff said the manufacturer had offered three reimbursement options and set a 90 day timeframe for the decision.

The first option, which Potthoff thought might be the best option considering the need to upgrade playground equipment at Felling Field, is a $4,000 credit towards purchases within the next year. Option two is a check for $2,000 and option three is a $1,000 check combined with one of two replacement pieces. Both replacement pieces were playground equipment items already in place at Norris Park.

The board planned to visit the company's website, www.playlsi.com, to view playground equipment options and then make a decision on how to proceed at a later date. Interested parties may provide input to any Parks Advisory Board members or by contacting Potthoff via his email, potthoff@cityofmccook.com.

Landscape Structures issued an official manufacturers recall pertaining to the slide on Monday, just a few days after city staff removed the slide. The recall of the "Slalom Glider" was in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and stated an approximate 900 units were sold between 2006 and 2011. According to the recall the commission has received 16 reports of injuries to children under the age of 8, including one bruised spleen, one fractured collar bone and 14 fractures to arms and legs.

Potthoff informed the Parks Advisory Board that a $110,000 grant for the third phase of the walking trail was approved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners in January. The third phase will extend the trail south from East H Street for approximately 1200 feet. Five property owners will need to grant permission for the city to utilize a portion of their property, according to Potthoff, who said it will be a couple of years before the project begins.

The dog park that is planned for East 11th and C Streets will use fencing from the airport that will be replaced by the construction of the new wildlife fence. Potthoff said the dog park is on hold until the airport wildlife fence project moves further along. City staff have already set aside a couple of benches and other items for the approximately one city block area the dog park will encompass, which is not anticipated to require any grading.


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Now if we can persuade the city to heat the pool, we'd have the best of all worlds. I sincerely believe attendance would increase if the water wasn't so cold the entire first month. Night swims could be a more realistic option as well. What say ye, O City?

-- Posted by TrailMix on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 1:49 PM

How much more would people be willing to pay to have the pool heated more? It already is the cheapest baby sitting in town and not close to cash flowing.

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 3:00 PM

The pool will never cash flow without huge increases in admittance fees and memberships because it doesn't have the capacity to make it cash flow. It's there to be an affordable public recreation activity to be enjoyed by everybody at the cheapest possible price.

No business would open a water park in McCook because they could never make it break even. That's why the citizens, through their government, decided a long time ago that they were willing to make that contribution to the community for the kids. It has never been expected to be cost neutral. That's not to say that we should just blindly dump money into it but we should maintain it and make improvements where we can so that the current and future generations can enjoy it just like we did when we were kids.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 4:45 PM

Exactly the point Aaron. If the city increases the water temp that would increase the cost of operating the pool. The question is at what point would the majority of citizens that do not use the pool say they are no longer willing to make that tax contribution when the citizens also have the heated YMCA pool?

-- Posted by dennis on Tue, Feb 21, 2012, at 6:34 PM

Bruce Hoffman asked that this comment be submitted:

I don't know that much about cash flow, but seriously, the commons are not intended to generate a profit. How is the balance sheet with the band shell? The commons are for the well being of the citizenry, to make a harsh place more pleasant within to reside. My little home town of 1,000 people has had a heated pool since I was 5 years old.I'll be 60 this year. It is your typical hunker down conservative farming town, but even 50 years ago they could see the benefit the community. Instead of political posturing over matters such as this, why not take the progressive approach and contact one of these companies that make remote burners that use waste wood, need to be loaded only twice in a 24hr. period, and furnish the necessary heat to be exchanged for our benefit. Maybe McCook could even be the prototype that helps increase the manufacturer's viability.

bruce hoffman

-- Posted by croswind on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 8:33 AM


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