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Anonymous donor gives $20,000 for new slide(s) at swimming pool

The Decorah Journal of Decorah, Iowa

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City votes 5-2 to proceed with Park-Rec project

An anonymous donor has pledged $20,000 toward slide projects at the Decorah Swimming Pool.

Decorah Parks and Recreation Director Andy Nimrod told the Council Monday night the donor had come to his office earlier that day to make a $10,000 donation toward a slide that will be larger than the one being replaced at the pool, and another $10,000 to start a fund for a toddler slide.

"That was unexpected — it helps out a lot," Nimrod said.

The Council approved the recommendation of the Park-Rec Board to proceed with the second of three options for replacing the slide at a cost of $301,000 on a 5-2 vote. Council members Tade Kerndt and Bill Wagner voted against the motion. Portzen Construction of Dubuque has the contract for the project.

Kerndt complained the original budget for the new slide was about $250,000.

What got cut $50,000 to make up for the difference?" Kerndt asked.

Nimrod said several improvements are planned at the pool over the next 10 years, so selecting the more expensive option will "slow down some of those improvements a bit," Nimrod responded.

The first option for replacing the slide had a total project cost of about $261,000 and provided for a 15-foot high structure with a 99-foot run, 33 feet shorter than the former slide which had to be removed due to safety concerns.

"The (Park-Rec) Board felt 33 feet shorter wouldn't make anybody happy. Plan No. 2 is six feet taller and 10 feet longer (than the old slide)," Nimrod said.

"The $50,000 still has to come from somewhere. This is the first I've heard of a toddler slide. How much will that cost?" Wagner asked.

Nimrod said he didn't want to guess on the cost of a toddler slide. He said a porpoise sculpture in the shallow part of the pool is considered a safety hazard and a toddler slide could eventually replace it.

City Manager Chad Bird said the Park-Rec Board does have the money for the more expensive slide. Because of the delay in bidding and awarding a contract, the slide fund will be receiving additional funding from the spring's hotel-motel tax revenues, he said. Additional money could come from other sources at the Park-Rec Board's discretion, such as the Board's memorial fund, Bird said.

Portzen Construction was the low bidder on the slide. Also bidding were Skyline Construction, Decorah, and Richio Construction, Gurnee, 111.

Toddler slide

After Monday's meeting, Nimrod said he'd like to see the porpoise sculpture replaced "sooner rather than later," but it would depend on what other needs have to be dealt with at the pool.

"It's dangerous — kids climb on it," Nimrod said. A cone has been placed on the sculpture to prevent children from playing on it.

As for the anonymous donations, Nimrod said he was "totally surprised."

"The donor had the community in mind and "knew that the new slide is expensive and wanted to have an impact on things. This will definitely have an impact," he said.

Nimrod said the person making the donation knew the project involved a considerable amount of money, which could draw some opposition.

"They wanted to ease some of those concerns. We constantly seem to be supported by the community and things like that make the Park-Rec system great. We're sure thankful for it."

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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