• Outdoor spaces ….

Posted 9/29/21

• Outdoor spaces • A sports dome • The community center building itself Breaking each of these down further leads into more detail, but first, why an outdoor and not indoor pool? “A very good …

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• Outdoor spaces ….


• Outdoor spaces

• A sports dome

• The community center building itself Breaking each of these down further leads into more detail, but first, why an outdoor and not indoor pool?

“A very good question,” City Parks Director and lifelong Cottage Grove resident Zac Dokter said in response to the question posed during a live Facebook chat with the community. In short, the outdoor pool had a lower capital cost to build and would likely be used to the same level during warmer months as an indoor one would spread out over 12 months. Mayor Bailey chimed in that the city had indoor pools at its schools with open swim an option at same. In addition, the sheer operating costs of an indoor pool were prohibitive. Whereas an outdoor pool might break even between cost and expense, an indoor pool stood to lose between a half-million to one million dollars each year, Dokter said in corroborating Bailey.

“We’re trying to be cost efficient,” Mayor Myron Bailey added at the live Facebook chat meant to answer questions on the proposed Community Center.

With a lazy river, zip line, and 50-meter (Olympic- size) pool all included, the Community Center would provide a projected 150 jobs to local residents, many if not most of these related to the water portion and seasonal. Residents would be charged a discounted rate for use at whatever the current market rate was, Bailey said via Facebook live, pointing out that other communities like Shoreview and Woodbury also had residents pay for such use after these had helped finance their own centers, a similar situation also prevailing at the Ice Arena in town, which residents also helped build and maintain. So what about the outdoor spaces? Let’s talk trail connections.

With a planned trail connection either over or under (not at ground level) County Road 19 to link the proposed Community Center with adjacent Ravine Regional Park across the way, the Center would be linked in’ to the City’s trail system and provide plenty of opportunities for exercise and recreation, the site as chosen due to needed parcel size and central location, a total of 13 having been considered. So what about the sports dome component?

A total of 100,000 square feet to recreate in – and not just for sports, as Dokter and Mayor Bailey were keen to point out. Whereas kid’s sports would obviously play a large role—including drop down batting cages for coaching baseball—there could also be community parties and other functions in the sports dome, along with a net protected walking track for seniors to exercise safely in all seasons, icy outside or not. The sports dome turf has a projected life span of 10 to 15 years, it was further revealed.

As to the Community Center building itself, Parks Director Dokter said that as with any facility, “we are trying to make sure everyone can use it.”

As such, there will be a social area just inside the door for people to either meet or read a book, with community rooms and an art program, along with space for leasing by early childhood learning and education. There would also be a catering kitchen to cook if the bond is approved, no specific vendor being required for the food aspect.

“I don’t forsee that,” Parks Director Dokter said of a specific vendor being required, adding that lots of homemade cupcakes were scraped by city staff off the ice arena floor.

That said, there will be no dedicated fitness area in the proposed center as far as bikes or treadmills are concerned, while the city had talked to the YMCA about coming to Cottage Grove. The lack of a dedicated fitness space for the proposed Community Center was due to such needs being met in the outside and broader community, it was made known. In communities where the YMCA operates, the building is subsidized by that community’s residents. So far, Cottage Grove doesn’t have a YMCA building— but there was pickleball to discuss.

“Is there going to be a pickleball court?” the question came in as moderated by city staff.

“We are studying it,” Parks Director Dokter said of possible sports dome pickleball. Whether the needed ‘bounce’ could be secured was a big question. So what of the public and its needs?

“I believe there is something for everyone,” Mayor Bailey says in the Mayor’s Moment posted mid-September with just 33 views on YouTube as of Sunday. “Obviously the indoor playground accommodates young families, the sports dome will benefit youth and teens, and the aquatics center has something for everyone,” Bailey shares for the September Mayor’s Moment. Back during the nighttime Facebook chat, it was near closing time.

“This is for you, the Cottage Grove citizens,” Bailey closed out his arguments in the live Facebook Community chat for September. “But we’ll benefit in Cottage Grove from the people that would come to this.” Whether the projected costs are worth the benefit will be decided on the November 2 ballot next month.