City moves forward with pool project

Chad Frey
The City of Newton approved pursuit of a bond, to be paid by the Public Building Commission, to construct a new municipal pool. The project is under design with the goal of opening a new facility next year.

Tuesday was a historic meeting of the city commission for three reasons — how the meeting was conducted, a decision made that was years in the making and how quickly the meeting was completed.

“This a historical first, having a meeting via Zoom,” said Mayor Leroy Koehn.

The meeting was conducted via video conferencing in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the county, the first time for the Newton City Commission.

A light agenda led to a 20-minute meeting — one of the shortest in recent memory. There was, however, a major decision made.

Following similar action by the Board of Education and Newton Recreation Commission, the city commission accepted plans and specifications for a new pool — which is going through a design build process with Dondlinger Construction.

The Newton Public Pool Improvements project is proposed to cost $2.875 million and, if it can be done under budget, include the following improvements:

• Main Pool: Concrete six-lane lap pool with a 12-foot deep end and two 1-meter diving boards.

• Concrete decking, 5-inch reinforced.

• New pool filters (sand), pump equipment and lines, and any necessary chemical feed equipment to support the facility.

• Inflatables and a climbing wall.

• Zero Entry space with small leisure pool space, spray features like a water cage and water bucket.

• Shade structures.

• Refurbishment of the existing slide and add a runoff slide.

• A family slide — a slide wide enough for a parent and child to go down together.

• Lazy river.

• Bath house upgrades, including new lighting, new fixtures in, new partition doors, repainting interior walls, doors and ceilings, new flooring and other improvements.

• A new, secure main entrance, new windows where needed and secured coverings.

• Lighting improvements.

• New fencing.

The city is also anticipating spending about $1.1 million for renovations to existing ball fields at Centennial Park, along with construction of two new fields at the facility.

A PBC Interlocal Agreement Addendum was recently approved by the city, Recreation Commission, school district and the PBC. That agreement was signed by all parties and is being sent to the Attorney General’s Office for final ratification.

The property where the pool sits, and will be renovated, was deeded to the Public Building Commission in order

The city will have the right to repurchase the property at the end of the current interlocal agreement, creating the Public Building Commission, in 2040. The city would also take ownership of the property if the PBC is disbanded.

In other business, the commission:

• Adopted an ordinance to create a Community Development Commission.

• Approved a bid letting for a taxiway reconstruction project at the Newton City/County Airport. The project will be grant-funded. The commission set a bid date of Dec. 15.

• Reviewed third-quarter financial reports.

• Discussed operational changes at city hall based on COVID-19 mitigation.