Kasson Aquatic Center might not open this summer
The Kasson City Council discussed the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on beloved summer activities, such as swimming and festivals, during its meeting on Wednesday, April 22.
Dan Eggler, council appointee to the Park and Recreation Commission, said there was quite a bit of discussion about the Kasson Aquatic Center at the recent park board meeting.
“The Park Board has made a recommendation to the council [that] if we can open the pool with the state’s permission and abide by all the rules, we’d like to, but we picked a date and it cannot open after July 15,” he said. “That means we’d have to know two weeks before to get it filled. That would give us still enough time to give citizens access to the pool.”
He explained that that July 15 cutoff was chosen because the cost to open the pool is between $20,000 and $25,000 and that’s why the park board wants the pool to be open at least six weeks.
“We figured [with six weeks] we can still offset enough of that cost to make it available,” he said.
Eggler said the park board hopes they can make it available to the public.
“We’d really love to open it because they [the park board] know that everybody looks forward to it,” he said.
He said the goal would be to keep the pool open until almost Labor Day.
Mayor Chris McKern said he’s gotten a lot of questions lately about summer activities
“Right now, [the answer] is we don’t know. I don’t want to be jumping the gun and canceling an August event yet, but it is what it is. We’ll probably have to make the decision at some point and all the committees have been talking about it. As far as the festival goes, we’ll have to make some decisions in May of altering things because a lot of stuff has to be paid for now and you don’t want to go pre-pay for things when it could get canceled,” he said.
He also mentioned that it’s going to be difficult fundraising for festivals.
“How do you go to a bunch of businesses that have been forced to close and say, ‘Hey, do you wan to donate $250 this year?’ We just aren’t comfortable going and asking people that,” he said.
McKern added that Kasson may not even have the choice at some point.
If that happens, he said, “We could allocate that funding that the city has for festivals elsewhere within the city.”
Later, concerned with the city’s budget the council unanimously approved a motion that if it doesn’t need to be spent, the city isn’t spending it.
During his mayor’s report, McKern thanked the city staff and the Kasson community for doing their part to support the community during this pandemic.
“I think it’s going to get more frustrating as we see days like today [70 degrees], so I just hope everybody has patience and hopefully we can get the city cranked up sooner rather than later,” he said.
He also thanked all of the retailers who are still working to get things out for the Kasson community.
The city council will meet again at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13.