Wednesday, September 03, 2014

City fills indoor pool request; owners eye fall opening

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 7/8/2013

The countdown to splashdown has started at Ottawa’s future indoor pool.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 5-0 last week to approve a conditional-use permit to allow the owners of the former Swim for Life aquatic center to reopen the facility at 913 E. Wilson St., Ottawa.

The countdown to splashdown has started at Ottawa’s future indoor pool.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 5-0 last week to approve a conditional-use permit to allow the owners of the former Swim for Life aquatic center to reopen the facility at 913 E. Wilson St., Ottawa.

The pool has sat idle since 2009.

“We would like to time the opening [around Labor Day weekend] to coincide with the public outdoor pool closing, so it would be a natural transition of pool activities from outside to inside,” Rick Deitz, co-owner, said.

Deitz, a rural Ottawa resident, and Alan Wright, a Baldwin City businessman, purchased the indoor pool facility in June 2012 from the Ebeck family for an undisclosed sum, they said.

“The pool itself is functional right now,” Deitz said. “We are still doing some painting, and we need to put in humidifiers and exhaust fans and get pool covers, but it’s nearly ready to go.”

One condition to receiving the permit was that a vegetation screen or fence had to be installed on the west side of the parking lot, Wynndee Lee, the city’s director of planning and codes administration, told city commissioners at their study session July 1.

Wright, who was at the study session, told commissioners that putting in the fence or vegetation screen would not be a problem.

Before the commission voted on the permit, Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, said he received a concern from a neighbor of the facility about the potential for noise in the evening with the permit allowing the pool to be in operation daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The neighbor was not trying to block the indoor facility from opening, Jorgensen said, adding he would be voting to approve the permit because he thought the community needed an indoor pool.

Jorgensen asked Lee if the conditional-use permit could be revisited if a problem occurred because of noise or other concerns. The city does have the ability to reconsider the permit if a situation arose that could not be resolved between city staff and the owners, Lee said.

The building has been used sporadically since it was built by Mark and Carolyn Retzer in 2003 and closed three years later.

The yet-to-be-named aquatic center will be open seven days a week and have regular times for lap swims, aerobic classes and other activities, Deitz said.

At least initially, those using the facility will have to provide their own certified lifeguard.

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