Herreid moves forward with bid for pool project

Motion passed with a 5-1 vote

Pool committee member Dick Werner gestures to an engineering rendition of the new pool in his comments to the city
of Herreid Council. Clockwise from left are Councilmember Kim Rossow, Council President Adrienne Dupper, Finance
Officer Ashley Haar, Mayor Gary Weismantel, and councilmembers Bob Rossow, Lacy Fuehrer and Brady Vander Vorst.
Council member Paul Weisbeck participated via telephone.

After two years of planning for an upgrade for the local swimming pool, the city of Herreid approved to move forward with a recent bid in a 5-1 vote by the council. 

The bid was awarded to Inside and Out, LLC, of Mandan, in the total amount of $983,716, which covers the cost of the base bid request, plus the alternate three option to supply and install the swimming pool slide and diving board. 

Updating history 

Discussion about the possibility of replacing the city pool began about two years ago. A local committee was formed to help in the process, including reviewing possible designs, considering options for improvements, etc. A rough cost estimate at that time was approximately $700,000 to $750,000, and the city council at their Sept. 9, 2020 meeting agreed to commit $250,000 towards the project. The pool upgrade committee agreed to pursue grants of $250,000 and local fundraising events to reach the other $250,000 needed for the project. 

As was the case with many potential projects in that time, COVID-related concerns delayed the project, which resulted in increased costs for materials, etc. A proposed pool design was reviewed by the council and put out for bids earlier this year. The lowest bid received at that time was for approximately $1.3 million, and the council, at a March 21 meeting, rejected all those bids. 

The pool committee then worked with EngTech Engineering of Bismarck, the engineering firm for the proposed project, on an alternate proposal. 

At a previous June 13 council meeting, the council approved a recommendation from the committee to reject bids received as not all specifications had been met by the bidders, which included Inside and Out’s original bid of $949,516. 

The project was rebid with a deadline of June 27.

 The only bid received was from Inside and Out, LLC. 

Because the project was redesigned, there were also some additional engineering fees. 

According to city attorney Mark Kroontje, the council has approved to pay $82,000 to EngTech as of July 1. 

On June 27, there were about 16 community members present for the discussion on the pool project and related bid, and everyone who addressed the council expressed their support for proceeding with the project. 

Pool support 

The city of Herreid held a special meeting June 27 to cover a number of topics, but the most pressing was the decision was the bid received to upgrade the local pool. 

“The pool impacts people of all ages,” said Melinda Neeley, Herreid resident and former finance officer for the city. “There are water aerobics, jobs for young adults as lifeguards, and the youngsters who learn how to swim. Just like the monies (the council) invested in the street project, this is also an important investment in the infrastructure of the community.” 

Pebble Drive in co-owner Heidi Meidinger echoed Neeley, saying the pool has an impact on other businesses in the community as people from surrounding towns come to eat, spend time at the pool then come back for a treat later in the day. 

“That all generated local tax dollars that come back to the community,” she added. 

During the meeting, other recent improvement projects were completed such as the installment of new playground equipment at the Deibert City Park and the work invested at the Clyde Schoeck Sports Complex. 

“All these improvements are important,” said Herreid resident Sandi Brandner. “People who stop to enjoy the pool or playground will probably also stop in and support other local businesses.” 

Councilmember Bob Rossow addressed rumors he heard about the pool closing if the council did not support paying for the project. 

Members of the pool committee shot down the rumors, stating the discussion of closing the pool if the new pool project was not approved hasn’t taken place. 

Herreid Mayor Gary Weismantel added his voice of support for the project. 

“I’m 100 percent in favor of the pool project. We need it in the community,” he said. “We added the extra one cent city sales tax several years ago to be used for projects such as this.” 

Additional Costs 

Council member Lacy Fuehrer said she has heard from community members concerned about the additional engineering fees, as well as the additional fundraising that will be necessary to complete the project. 

“(The council) are the ones who will approve the bid,” she said. “If the additional fundraising falls short, the city is on the hook for the full amount, including all the engineering fees.” 

She added there could be other unanticipated costs, such as pipe replacement, etc., that could also be a cost to the city. 

The condition of the current bathhouse at the pool has been an ongoing concern, and the question was asked if the current pool could remain and just the bathhouse be replaced. Meidinger said using the grant funds for that purpose was not an option. 

“If the grants that have been committed to the project (totaling about $335,000) are turned down, there is little likelihood of ever getting grants for other projects from those sources again,” she said. 

Neeley said she understood the concerns of community members, but added those same fears (cost overruns, etc.) apply to any major project the community undertakes. “The issue you need to ask yourselves is this, ‘Is this a worthwhile project for the community?’” she asked. Neeley, a former city finance officer, noted the good financial condition of the community, and added the city could not always qualify for grant funding for some projects because of the reserves they had on hand. 

In responding to the concerns over the ability to raise the additional funds needed, pool committee member Dick Werner said he was confident the goal could be reached. “Our fundraising efforts have been handcuffed a little bit because we didn’t have a set figure to shoot for,” he said. “Now that we have the figure in black and white, we know what the goal is.” 

Robert Weisbeck said the fundraising efforts are ongoing, and any funds they raise over and above the goal will all go into the project. 

“That potentially means the city’s share could be less,” he added. 

Prior to the end of the discussion, Fuehrer asked if the pool committee would be willing to put in writing their commitment to raise the additional funds. Members noted a letter would not be binding but recommitted themselves to raising the necessary money. 

The vote 

Following the discussion, a motion was made by council member Adrienne Dupper and seconded by Paul Weisbeck to pay the initial $250,000 commitment plus the engineering fees for the project. 

Members Dupper, Weisbeck, Fuehrer, Rossow and Brady Vander Vorst supported the motion. Member Kim Rossow voted no. 

Although Kim Rossow did not comment at the meeting on the “nay vote,” in previous meetings Kim Rossow expressed concerns about the additional engineering costs. 

Dupper then moved and Weisbeck seconded a motion to accept the base bid of $941,516, along with an alternate bid of $42,200 for supplying and installing the swimming pool slide and diving board, from Inside and Out, LLC. All six council members voted yes on that motion. 

Following approval of the bid, Dupper noted the importance of the project. 

“Don’t stop now,” she told everyone. “Let’s all work together to get the funds raised and get this project done.” 

Werner expressed his appreciation to the council. 

“Thank you,” he said. “This is the perfect example of how a public/private partnership can work.” 

In other business, 

the council: 

• Moved to hire Ashley Haar as the new city finance officer. She replaces Chessie Dodds, who had recently submitted her letter of resignation. Dodds has been assisting Haar in the transition. 

• Approved a building permit for Chris Harbaugh (build a 12’ x 20’ wooden storage shed). 

• Agreed to re-advertise the public hearing for the special assessment for property owners along the streets that had been paved last year. 

• Discussed the lawns on some properties that have not been mowed yet this year. A letter will be sent to the property owners, and they will be billed if the city needs to do the morning. 

• Held an executive session for personnel (public and press excluded). Upon coming out of the executive session, the council moved to hire Kaytlin Beck as pool staff for 2022 at a rate of $11 per hour. 

• Set the next regular council 

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