Community Assessment Study for pool improvement project positive

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

About 20 persons attended an informational meeting to review  the 36-page Community Assessment Study Report at the Community Pool Steering Committee meeting held Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Ellen Hongerholt and Laura Eddy of Crescendo Consulting, L.L.P. walked the group through the in depth report, which was actually a study on whether a capital fundraiser to pay for needed improvements to the city’s outdoor swimming pool  was feasible or not.

This past fall, the city hired Crescendo Consulting to conduct the study. A total of 37 area residents were interviewed as part of the assessment study.

The study was conducted to assess how much money could be raised to support the improvement project, outline the most effective fundraising strategy, measure the readiness and the awareness level of the community and organizations, identify potential conflicts with other issues or fundraising drives currently taking place in the community, evaluate the current and short-term economic climate in the area, recommend a campaign goal and a preliminary campaign timetable, cultivate prospective contributors and cultivate campaign leaders.

Hongerholt and Eddy said they were very pleased with the results of the assessment study. They emphasized that Caledonia residents were quite aware of the need for the project and have already shown much support by embracing a number of fundraising events held last year to get the pool project ball rolling.

They also noted that an unidentified supporter of the pool project has expressed the desire to make a six-figure pledge to the project.

Caledonia Mayor Bob Burns was at the meeting. He stated the city council has discussed infusing between $400,000 and $600,000 into the pool project without raising property taxes. The city currently has two general obligation (GO) bonds that are scheduled to be paid off in the next year. Once those GO bonds are paid off, the annual payments for those bonds could go to cover the bonding for the pool project.

The city has a pool improvement project design in place. The estimated cost of that project is approximately $1.5 million.

Crescendo Consulting recommended that the Community Assessment Study be adopted and the city proceed with the pre-campaign – phase II portion of the campaign process.

After a lengthy discussion a motion was made and carried to send several committee members to the upcoming Feb. 13 Caledonia City Council meeting in which a formal recommendation will be made to move forward with the project based upon the positive Community Assessment Study findings.

Crescendo Consulting’s cost estimate for the capital campaign was around $100,000. Steve Reiman, who is a member of the pool committee asked if the city was required to solicit bids for this work. Burns replied that he felt that needed to be looked into.

City Attorney Tim Murphy, who was also attending the meeting, opined there are some exceptions as to when the city is required to get competitive bids. He indicated he would research the matter and have an answer at the Feb. 13 council meeting.

You can contact Charlie Warner at charlie.warner@ecm-inc.com

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