Talks of community indoor aquatic center in Dubuque

April  21, 2014

      The city of Dubuque and school district may join forces to build a new community indoor aquatic center. The City Council and Board of Education will hold two public meetings tomorrow to discuss a possible replacement for the pool at Hempstead High School that could also serve the community. 

      Dan Kroger, recreation division manager for the city, says a committee began meeting last year, when the school district found out how much it would cost to fix the 43-year-old Hempstead pool. 

      "There's some people that may be thinking of an aquatic center and they're like, 'Well, I'm not really intersted in a pool so there isn't really much reason for me to get involved.' Well, are you a walker? Are you looking for some place to walk in the winter? Well, a potential indoor waliking track could service that need.  Do you know that we could have a potential indoor water area or play area or physical threapy area for senior citizens the public would be able to use?"

      The committee has hired a consultant to figure out how much a new facility might cost. But Kroger says public input is very important at this stage.  Anyone who can't attend the two meetings is encouraged to use an online tool called Mindmixer. Residents can log on via social media and answer questions about how big the facility should be, and what services should be available.

      "And they really can say whatever they want. They can answer the questions. They can ask staff questions. And it's just a communication tool for people to be able to provide us with their thoughts if they're not able to make it to these facilities."

      Kroger says the committee visited four facilities in Missouri last month to get an idea of what services an indoor center could provide. And photos of those are on Mindmixer for residents to submit their input. 

      The two public meetings will take place tomorrow at from 11 am to 1 pm and from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Majestic Room of the Five Flags Center in Dubuque.