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Lake Elmo swim pond will open late this year; 1986 facility gets $149,300 upgrade

A popular Washington County amenity will open just a little later than usual next year, thanks to some long-needed upgrades at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swim Pond.

Built in 1986, the pond is nearing 30 years and is in need of some maintenance to extend its life into the future. It’s part of an overall project to update the entire swim hole area at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, according to Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg.

At the Dec. 15 meeting, the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved an expenditure of $149,300, to pay the consultant firm of Barr Engineering to help in the design for the watering hole’s upgrade.

Work on the pond will begin in the spring, Sandberg said. The pond is drained every year, so it will be empty while the improvements are being completed.

Over its nearly three decades of life, the pond site has only had a couple of improvements. In 2000, a new filtration system was added, but the original pipes from 1986 were not replaced. The next year, a new roof was put on the swim facility building. But those are about the only improvements that have been made, he said.

“We’re coming up to be 30 years old, and only minor improvements have been made in those 30 years,” Sandberg said. “Overall, the entire facility is getting tired. It’s in need of an upgrade”

Many of the buildings at the site are undersized and are not up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Overall, the grounds are starting to show age, and the parking lots are in need of new pavement, according to Sandberg.

“We have a lot of needs at this facility,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure the pond and this facility are safe, clean and efficient, and we can expand from there.”

This year’s project includes replacing the nearly 30-year-old liner, which is cracked and curling up. Additionally, new underground pipes will be added, the skimmers that help clean the water will be updated, and improvements to the filter and pressure tank systems are planned.

The path around the pond will be widened, to make it more ADA compliant, and a ramp that stretches across the sand is planned to make the pond more accessible for ADA purposes.

Finally, the depth of the pond will be decreased from 6 feet to 4 feet, which will improve safety for both swimmers and the lifeguards on duty.

The total project cost is $1.167 million, Sandberg said. Much of that amount will be covered through grants received by the Metropolitan Council for the project.

Design for the project began this month. Construction is expected to start in March, and continue through early June.

“One thing to note though, is that doing this does keep the pond closed until early June, even mid-June,” Sandberg said. “That’s important to note because we do normally open that pond in late May.”

Barr Engineering will be paid $149,300 for its design services. That contract was approved by county commissioners at the meeting.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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