Board backs Expo Pool demo

The former Expo Pool site should become a neighborhood park, with all buildings and the pool itself demolished, according to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission.

The commission voted in favor of that plan Wednesday afternoon, as suggested by Lori Branderhorst, director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry. Branderhorst will now recommend the plan to the Fort Dodge City Council in a public workshop at Monday’s council meeting.

The people in that neighborhood made their desires for the park very clear in a meeting back in June, Branderhorst said, rejecting any ideas of a dog park or skate park there.

“They overwhelmingly wanted the site returned to a park,” she said.

A sculpture garden, community garden or flower garden were some of the options discussed for the park, Branderhorst said.

However, the park will start out as very basic at first.

“The demolition is funded. There is not money for any park growth,” she said. “We can do bare minimum grading, maybe put in some berms, maybe we can push some dirt around to eventually put in a little loop trail or something.”

Shive-Hattery, of West Des Moines, is currently working on plans for the demolition, she said. One option is to demolish the top part of the pool, make sure that the bottom doesn’t hold water, and just fill it in. That would cost about $10,000 less than tearing everything out.

After that, groups, such as the Iowa State Extension Master Gardeners or Pride In Community Appearance, may be asked to help out, Branderhorst said.

Expo Pool, which opened in 1982 on the site of a previous pool, closed in 2009. It was replaced the following year with the Rosedale Rapids aquatic center at North 32nd Street and 10th Avenue North.

Other business

A plan has now been made to reconnect the Soldier Creek trail to Webster County Road D14, near the BHJ USA Inc. cold storage facility. The north end of the trail is currently closed off to the public because a water testing station had to be put in, Branderhorst said. The new trail section should be finished by next year at the latest.

She also gave an update on the Rec Alliance program, through which the city’s Parks and Recreation Department partners with the Fort Dodge Rec and other entities to consolidate some of the sports leagues throughout town.

“It’s really laying the groundwork for the consumer not to be confused on who’s doing what, or two basketball leagues, or two volleyball leagues,” Branderhorst said.

The pilot program for the alliance will involve a consolidated volleyball league, she said.