Each drop in the bucket creates waves of the future
By Molly Moser
‘The Wave of the Future’ fund-raising campaign for the Guttenberg Municipal Swimming Pool kicked off last week with a donation from Guttenberg Industries, Inc. A minimum of $300,000 will be required to begin refurbishment of the 40-year-old pool by the end of the next swimming season. If all goes according to plan, swimmers will be enjoying the pool’s facelift by the beginning of the 2015 season.
Burbach Aquatics of Platteville conducted two studies, one on construction of a new pool and one on refurbishing the current structure. “According to their recommendation, we have to do something now, in the next year or two, or it’s going to be too far gone to refurbish,” said Bec Knudtson, who represents the recreation board and is highly involved with pool operations.
A new pool is estimated to cost $2-3 million. With refurbishment, the current swimming pool is expected to last 15-20 years more.
A portion of the $300,000 will be used to sandblast the concrete pool interior, which has been patched repeatedly over the life of the pool. “The basin of the pool has been eroding in pieces and chunks, which have been filled in throughout the years when chunks have literally come loose on the side and bottom of the pool,” said Knudtson.
With a smooth, solid floor and walls, water will stay clean longer and the pool’s floor will be gentler on swimmers’ feet.
Leaks in the main pool have already been addressed, but the kiddie pool, as it exists now, will be eliminated due to a leak from an unknown source. Knudtson expects to determine the source of the leak during the refurbishment process, and predicts a zero depth entry or splash pad will replace the kiddie pool.
Knudtson and Guttenberg resident Al Ullerich have been appointed adult pool supervisors on a volunteer basis. Knudtson supervises staff and handles administrative issues, while Ullerich maintains the chemical balance and cleanliness of the pool itself. Ullerich is a certified lifeguard, so he can step in when lack of staff becomes an issue – and it often does, as the pool is open seven days a week. “We just do it because we want to keep the pool going,” Knudtson told The Press.
Changes are being made in all areas to make Guttenberg’s pool run more efficiently. Starting lifeguard wages have been increased to minimum wage to address staffing issues. The pool requires a number of lifeguards and basket room attendants, typically high school students, as well as managers, a position which provides college students an opportunity for summer employment.
In spite of its struggles with staffing and aging, the pool attracts swimmers from Dyersville, Garnavillo, Holy Cross, Luxemberg, and North Buena Vista, as well as a regular crowd of playful children and local adults who swim laps and tread water. Those who travel here to swim stop for groceries or gas on their way through. “It’s the heartbeat of the community, and if we let it go, we’re crazy,” stated Knudtson.
Deb Moser, who presented the first donation to the campaign on behalf of Guttenberg Industries, Inc., is a regular user of the pool. She’s one of the ‘bobbers,’ a group of mostly women who tread water and do water aerobics in the 13-foot during open swim.
“It is wonderful for the time spent with the ladies. It’s wonderful exercise we get. We’re so fortunate because most pools do not offer open swim three times a day, and because we have such a big area outside the lanes,” she commented.
Fundraisers are hopeful that other area businesses will follow Guttenberg Industries' lead in contributing. Plans are also underway to mail a countywide appeal for donations. Those interested in helping with fundraisers are encouraged to contact the city office. Checks can be made payable to City of Guttenberg – Pool Fund.