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Memorial Pool’s new historic tag could be a headache



Designation could make changes difficult

A historical designation for an old swimming pool may make things complicated but not impossible to deal with.

That evaluation comes from La Crosse park board president and local city council member Ryan Cornett.  

He says the city will likely now just have to work around the historic landmark status that Memorial Pool was recently granted.

“We’re expecting, if we do the historic designation, we’ll have to change things a certain way, or not change things, and it will cost a lot more money than it originally would if it wasn’t designated,” Cornett said.

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission gave the pool the designation – something most public structures built in the 1930s with some historical significance get. It affords the pool some level of protection moving forward. 

While the designation attached is binding, it can be appealed and overturned by a simple majority on the city council.  

The biggest issues appear to be water leaking out of the 78-year-old pool at a rate of 7,500 gallons per day and a sand filter that’s no longer up to code. Also, a recent survey of the pool also found numerous code violations and worker safety issues.

The city’s park board has recommended the pool close for the summer, citing the facility’s extensive repair needs and worker safetty issues that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

The park board has also agreed to a study that would help determine what the pool needs to function into the future, but the city council votes next month on whether that happens.

Regardless of the problems and the historical designation, Cornett isn’t worried.

“It’s a hurdle, but it’s a minor hurdle. I’was acutally on that commisioo before. I learned a lot from it,” he said. “There are a lot of really good things we’ve done in the city by historic designation.”

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