Weather Forecast


Lakefield pool vote is Thursday

LAKEFIELD -- An outdoor municipal swimming pool, or no outdoor municipal swimming pool.

For Lakefield voters, that is the question.

And it will be decided Thursday, when residents go to the polls to decide whether to approve a bond referendum not greater than $900,000 to replace a decaying city pool and related facilities with new construction.

If the bond doesn't pass, said Lakefield Mayor Dudley Hussong, the town will be without a pool for the first time since Aug. 4, 1963.

"It needs to pass if we're going to rebuild the pool. If it doesn't pass, the pool will not be rebuilt. If we do anything, it has to be brought to code. Just to bring it up to code right now will cost $900,000," Hussong explained. "If it doesn't pass the vote, it'll become a flower garden. We'll have to cover it up. We can't use it."

Several major structural problems and code violations have rendered the current outdoor pool unsuitable for future use. But if the bonding referendum passes, a new pool -- with slides and other unique features -- will be introduced. Supporters of the referendum believe a new outdoor pool will be a drawing card well outside Lakefield boundaries and increase city property values.

Lakefield's is the only outdoor pool in Jackson County. At a public meeting Tuesday, several residents indicated a desire to organize fund-raising efforts to mitigate the cost of a new pool, and Hussong said volunteers are ready to ask for donations county-wide.

Fund-raising efforts might also increase the likelihood of the measure passing, he added.

"The less we will have to bond, the better off we'll be," Hussong said.

Pool director Lisa Barkeim is an unabashed supporter of the project.

"On a typical hot summer day, we have about 125 kids go through there -- and not just kids; people. What else are the kids going to do? We have parks, but when it's hot, the swimming water is a draw," she said.

Hussong, who said some people on fixed incomes are concerned about the cost, explained that passage of the referendum will mean approximately $120 more in taxes for the owner of a $75,000 home. He is optimistic that the referendum will pass.

"There are very few people who say, 'No, we don't need a pool,'" he said.

Barkeim concurred.

"I've heard a lot of positive comments. I've heard more positive than negative," she said.

Residents may vote Thursday between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church or the Multi-Purpose Center. Absentee ballots are available at City Hall.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

(507) 376-7328