Work starts on new pool

Click to view a small photo setOn a perfect day for swimming, dozens of Northfield residents stood around the new city pool at Memorial Park Thursday – or at least around the site where the new pool will be when it opens next summer.

Mayor Lee Lansing donned a red swimming outfit, complete with flippers, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $2.85M pool project. Park Board and City Council members donned the traditional hard hats and picked up shovels, but they didn’t have to try and break the sun-hardened soil.

Project manager Jack Viebahn of Met-Con Companies of Faribault, the general contractor for the project, brought along a small bulldozer to do the heavy work. That left the officials to smile and pose with neighborhood kids who showed up for the event.

"It's one small scoop for man...a lot of little scoops for the children of Northfield," Park Board Chairman Richard Vanasek joked. Mayor Lansing called his red outfit a tribute to historic swimming apparel, a nod to the past as the city moves to the future.

Northfield City Councilor Scott Davis, who owns Stone Cottage Photography, took photos of the entire event – right down to the flippers – and you can view them through his site.

Jim Robin of Close Landscape Architects Inc. was on hand, and brought with him color renderings of the new pool complex he designed. The new pool will be in the center of the soccer field at the park, with new changing rooms, a parking area and green space. While the pool doesn’t include waterslides, it is designed so those features and others can be added later.

The new pool was only a drawing Thursday, but the old pool and worn-looking changing rooms stood as a reminder of what sparked the pool project. City officials closed the pool in 2005 after a leak couldn’t be repaired. The pool and changing rooms will be demolished, leaving a sloped, bowl-shaped area that could be used someday for outdoor theater, storytelling or music performances. That work isn’t yet in the budget.

Preliminary drawings of the project are available on the City Hall website. New renderings are expected to be posted there soon. 

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