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The community swimming pool in Parkers Prairie has been a popular summer attraction ever since it opened 37 years ago. Age has taken its toll on the pool and the community is raising money to replace it. (Photo courtesy of Parkers Prairie Independent)

Splashing toward a new pool in Parkers Prairie

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Residents of Parkers Prairie are working hard to replace the city’s aging 37-year-old community pool.

The Parkers Prairie pool was constructed in City Park back in 1977, but over the past few years the condition has started to deteriorate. The old pool also does not meet some government requirements for accessibility.

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That is why the West Central Initiative/Parkers Prairie Swimming Pool Fund has formed and is helping raise $1.8 million for a new aquatic facility.

“We hope the pool will last another year, maybe two if possible,” co-chair James Arvidson said.

The original Parkers Prairie pool was built by the city’s commercial club back in 1977. Sheryl Myers, who was on the original committee to build the structure, said the pool came in a pre-constructed kit.

“That was the type of pool that was being put into different communities,” said Myers, co-chair of the new pool committee. “I believe New York Mills had one, Sebeka had one, Pelican Rapids also had one very similar.”

Out of all those area pools, Myers said the pool in Parkers Prairie has survived the longest.

The committee’s plan is to construct the new pool in the same way Parkers Prairie’s first pool was funded: entirely by private donations.

Organizers have been optimistic about the way donations have rolled in for the pool fund. The largest contribution so far has been $250,000 from Parkers Prairie telecommunications company, Arvig.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” Arvidson said. “Things are coming in quite well. We are close to $450,000, but we’ve got a long ways to go.”

The new pool will also offer some updated features. USAquatics, based out of Delano, has played a big role in designing the new pool as the hired consultant for the project.

One important feature is a “zero entry” that should be helpful for children and people with disabilities. This zero entry option gives swimmers the option to enter a shallow portion of the pool without having to navigate steps. A ramp also connects the shallow portion of the pool to deeper water.

Myers said the shallow pool will be only three feet deep.

“You can go from one zero entry pool and walk to the ramp and go into the big pool,” Myers said.

The Parkers Prairie Swimming Pool Fund has received major help from West Central Initiative. As a partner, the regional community foundation has provided some technical support and holds a nonprofit status.

With the swimming pool fund in the early stages, organizers still are not sure when construction on the new pool can begin. But Arvidson was optimistic that construction could begin this fall if everything works out perfectly.

“That’s our goal, with the thought that this pool might not make it through this year,” Arvidson said.

The new pool will be located in the same spot as the current one in City Park.

Donations for the new pool can be given online at www.wcif.org or mailed to PO Box 98, Parkers Prairie MN 56361. For more information, contact Arvidson at (218) 639-5323 or Myers at (218) 338-4901.

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