Roland pool, council seat on the ballot in March 5 election

Ronna Lawless Staff Writer
The design that would replace the pool if the voters approve it. The new pool would be constructed in the current pool’s footprint. Contributed photo

Voters in Roland will go to the polls on March 5 to determine the fate of the local swimming pool and to elect a city council member.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the voting location is the Roland Area Community Center, 208 N. Main St.

Roland city officials are asking voters to fund a new swimming pool, which would be built at the current location and in the current pool’s footprint. The City Council is holding an election for funding not to exceed $3.1 million. If the bond passes, city officials plan to apply for grants to limit the tax burden.

Three candidates have put their names on the ballot for the seat, which was vacated by Jerry Zamzow who resigned from the council at the end of April, 2018, because he and his family moved outside of Roland.

Brian Hill was appointed by the council to fill Zamzow’s seat, but he is not seeking election.

The candidates on the ballot are Joseph Corrow, Russell Neely and Kailah Schmitz.

The Roland Public Library is hosting a City Council Candidate Forum and Swimming Pool Q&A on Sunday, March 3, at 7 p.m. at the library. The three candidates have been invited to participate. The forum will provide the opportunity for the candidates to share their vision for Roland and answer questions regarding community matters.

Following the 30-minute candidate forum, information about the swimming pool bond issue will be presented.

If the vote passes, fundraising and grants would be sought to lower the tax impact for Roland residents. If the city was to borrow the full amount, the tax impact for a $150,000 home would be $355 per year.

“While we understand that the cost of the pool updates will affect your taxes, we hope you also understand the importance of the pool to the community,” said the Pool Committee in a statement.

The current swimming pool is nearing its end. If the bond vote does not pass, it’s likely the pool will not be open for the 2021 season.

Upon inspection, the condition of the pool was determined to be very poor and in dire need of updates to remain open.

“The committee has set a goal of achieving the needed updates without having the pool closed for the season. That being said, those updates need to happen ASAP,” the statement continued.

There are many problems with the current pool, which is about 50 years old. The joints of the gutters are separating. There are approximately 200 feet of cracks in the deep end. Several pipes are leaking.

The pool and bath house do not meet entrance standards of the ADA.

The ladder welds are cracking. The lifeguard chair is not safe, and a lifeguard has actually fallen off it. The diving board is becoming unsafe; it is rusting and bolts have loosened. Fencing has become loose in different parts and needs tightened. The chemical controller went bad and has been replaced. The heater went bad and was replaced, and the city has been told by different contractors that this isn’t the best style option for a pool.

The bathroom sinks don’t have hot water. The water heater leaks and needs replaced. The electric supply in the concession stand can’t handle the microwave, popcorn maker and freezer.

After surveying local residents about their desires for a new pool, the city decided to construct a new pool with the same footprint as the current one.

“That being said, the new pool would look much the same with a zero-entry, water feature (mushroom), deep-end and diving board,” the Pool Committee said. “These updates would also include changes to the pool house and concession area.”

With a long history of having a pool in the community, city officials say it is a draw for new residents to the city of Roland. Many young families chose Roland as their home because of the city’s pool. And that fact is important to economic development, they said.