MOUNDRIDGE — The city of Moundridge recently sent out Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program surveys to residents in preparation for applying for a grant to either repair or replace its public swimming pool.

"There's a community development block grant for pools this year that hasn't been available for many, many years," said Randy Frazer, Moundridge's city administrator.

To qualify for the grant, 51 percent of Moundridge's residents must meet low- to moderate-income guidelines. The last time the city was surveyed, only 47 percent met those guidelines, but that may have changed over the past few years.

"We're hoping to get the majority of the public to return those surveys," Frazer said.

The grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce can pay for 60 percent of the costs for the pool up to a limit of $1 million. 

"It would be fantastic if we could get this type of funding," said Moundridge Recreation Commission Director Vicky Kessler.

Moundridge's current pool, built around 1970, is a 25 meter-long heated pool with two spring boards, a water slide and a separate baby pool.

"It's in pretty tough shape," Frazer said. "The concrete in the pool is pretty bad and the restroom facilities aren't ADA-compliant."

As part of the grant application process, engineers will be brought in to determine the costs for repairing the pool or building a new one.

"We have looked at both options," Kessler said. "...Really, I think it would have to be completely redone. It is in dire need of repairs ... it would be more economical to start fresh."

Kessler said the pool was used to provide swimming lessons to 120 students last summer. She also estimated it sees an average attendance of 100 people per day in early summer months, though that number is cut in half by the time August rolls around.

"I want to see it used," Kessler said.

Some features that Kessler would like to see added to the pool include a zero-entry area to make it more accessible for those with physical limitations. An adjoining play space for kids would also make it easier for parents to watch children of various ages at the same time — a feature that Kessler theorized may currently motivate families to drive out of town to other pools.

If the decision to replace the pool is made, another issue that will have to be settled is the question of location. The pool is near the tennis courts behind Moundridge High School, and Kessler said there has been talk of moving it to a space near to Greer Gymnasium and the senior center in order to have a more central location.

One benefit to keeping the pool's current location is that the shower and restroom facilities that are already in place could still be used, as they are still in good shape, according to Kessler.

Frazer stated there will be opportunities in future months for Moundridge residents to voice their opinions regarding the pool.

If Moundridge qualifies for a CDBG grant, it could also be used for other infrastructure projects such as fire station expansion, street and/or drainage improvements, sewer plant improvements and water line improvements as the survey results can be used for a five-year period. 

"Even if we don't get the pool grant, it opens up opportunities for other projects," Frazer said. "...It's a good thing to have in our back pocket."

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