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home : columns : rahn larson July 26, 2017

3/8/2017 1:54:00 PM
Where should the pool go?
"Wow, Windom looks like a really fun place to live. There's a nice little ballpark and lots of activity at the pool."
I made that comment during the summer of 1987, shortly after arriving at a friend's wedding in Heron Lake. It was the first time I laid eyes on Windom, a solid first impression.
Little did I know, that first impression would become a factor when a job opportunity popped up a year later. For me, there were other options, but two things pushed Windom to the top of the list - the newspaper's reputation and that positive first impression of Windom. The funny thing is, I'm not even a big swimmer.
I bring this up because we all know age is catching up with the Windom swimming pool. The 50-year-old pool is simply not what it once was. The popular high board is gone and a recent report by U.S. Aquatics shows safety issues throughout the pool.
The city council will not replace the pool immediately, but the topic has come up at recent meetings. So far, council members seem to favor a new pool, rather than a remodel.
Most residents seem resigned to the fact that Windom will spend as much as $5 million on a new pool in the next few years.
Marketing a city
I expect the pool site issue to heat up this summer.
As we explore sites, let's not forget that for a zillion motorists their concept of Windom is what they see from their car windows as they pass through town. I can attest, it is a lasting impression.
Granted, a U.S. Aquatics report suggests soil problems at the current pool site could be problematic for a future pool at that location. I'm not an engineer, but I would point out that the current pool lasted 50 years in that spot. That makes me wonder how serious the soil problem really is.
At the very least, city leaders should explore all highly visible options (keeping safety in mind). I can list countless cities where expensive new pools are built in secluded areas, leaving travelers no clue the hidden gems exist.
There's no doubt we will spend millions of dollars on a new pool, so let's make a huge marketing splash (so to speak). Maybe someday when you mention you are from Windom, the reply will be: "Oh yes, that's the fun town with the wonderful swimming pool and that pretty little ballpark. It must be a great place to live."

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