Archived Story

Bricelyn’s pool gets ready for summer

Published 9:11am Thursday, March 17, 2011

BRICELYN — While most people are finally starting to think spring, Kathy Ehlert of Bricelyn is fast forwarding to summer.

Ehlert, the city clerk for Bricelyn, is excited about the new lifeguard chairs and permanent concrete steps that will be installed at the Bricelyn Pool.

She’s also hoping it’s a good year for fundraising, as she would like to see the baby pool reopen. The baby pool, which is attached to the main pool, has been closed for the past two summers.

“It all started three years ago when the Abigail Taylor Act was passed,” said Ehlert. “They started cracking down and getting really tough on pools at that time.”

The Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act, which passed in May 2008, is a bill requiring safe drains in swimming pools. It was named in honor of 6-year-old Abigail Taylor of Edina, who was fatally injured in a wading pool drain accident in 2007.

An inspector from Faribault County came through, as required. At that time, the city of Bricelyn was looking at installing unblockable drain covers. They decided while they were at it, they should have the entire pool inspected to make sure everything was up to code and kept safe.

“We didn’t want to spend money on the drain, and then 10 years down the road have to close it down because we needed to do something else and didn’t have the money,” said Ehlert.

In addition to having an inspector from Freeborn County look at the pool, they took it a step further and called Olympic Pools, a certified pool company from the Twin Cities, to do a full inspection.

The baby pool, which measures 18 feet by 18 feet and is 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep, is attached to the main pool. The inspector found that the circulatory system of the baby pool is hooked in with that of the main pool. Ehlert said that’s not allowed, because the water in the baby pool needs to be recirculated more often.

“The pipes were all hooked in together under the main deck,” she said.

The price tag on installing a circulation system on the baby pool was about $25,000. Since they couldn’t recirculate the water in the baby pool as required without the new system, and because the cost was much higher than they ever expected, the baby pool closed down in 2008.

“We’ve lost some business,” Ehlert said. “I’ve heard some complaints and I know some people go to other towns with baby pools and zero entry areas.”

She said the main pool is a valuable resource for youth, and would like to see the baby pool reopen.

The city of Bricelyn has been trying to raise money to open it up again. The city has some funds set aside for pool maintenance, but Ehlert said it’s a small amount and used for general maintenance and upkeep on the main pool.

She said they raised funds last year, which will allow them to put in new lifeguard chairs and steps. The main pool, built in 1965, measures 40 feet by 80 feet and is 3 feet to 10 feet deep. The steps will make it easier for people to enter and exit the pool.

This summer, they are also hoping to update the electricity in the poolhouse building.

“We definitely don’t want to let it go,” Ehlert said. “A lot of people in town really enjoy it. A lot of parents work, so it’s a place for kids to go in summertime. It keeps them busy.”

Ehlert said the main pool will open June 7 and continue to offer swimming lessons for children, swimnastics and water walking for adults. The pool can be reserved for private parties on Monday nights throughout the summer.

Although the city council hasn’t set any formal fundraisers just yet, they will continue selling the “Property of the Bricelyn Swimming Pool” T-shirts and sweatshirts this season. Call Kathy at Bricelyn City Office, 507-653-4367, for the shirts.