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Tonight the Rochester City Council will be discussing opening the Silver Lake Swimming Pool, perhaps without entry fee for Rochester residents.

According to the City Council agenda, it is estimated the city will need to spend at least $50,000 to make basic temporary repairs needed to reopen the pool and keep it open through the summer. That money would also cover the cost of repairs needed at the Soldiers Field pool. An additional $45,000 would have to be appropriated to cover the day-to-day operational costs of just the Silver Lake pool. Read More: Rochester Considering One More Season For Silver Lake Pool

City of Rochester / Art by Rabe
City of Rochester / Art by Rabe

In a conversation with Mayor Kim Norton on Rochester Today, the Rochester City Pools were discussed. Immediate repairs could keep the Silver Lake Pool open this summer,  at least until it conks out (which is possible, according to engineer's reports on the pool). Click play to hear the conversation (scroll to read the transcript)...

Councilmember Nick Campion has proposed complimentary pool admission this summer. What do you think? Would you like it if the Rochester City Council offered free admission or no? 

Click PLAY to hear the entire conversation with the Mayor.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:


Andy Brownell (00:00): You have a discussion tonight, mayor at the city council about possibly having Silver Lake pool open?

Mayor Kim Norton (00:07): Yes. That's the last meeting. We had quite a discussion about, uh, people really wanting to have that second pool open, uh, partly right now because, uh, the pools have restricted, uh, attendance based on, you know, COVID restrictions. And also, you know, we, as summer has started early as we all know this year, and if it's another hot summer, we want to have enough room for people to be able to cool off and enjoy.

So, uh, after a discussion, that's going to be brought back to the board today. And I understand there may be a council initiated action that will perhaps, uh, at least talk about having the pool open, uh, for free.

photo by Kim David
Silver Lake Pool photo by Kim David

James Rabe (00:47): Okay. Who's putting that forward. I heard that someone would, but I didn't get the name of who was putting forward. The idea of making it free.

Mayor Kim Norton (00:53): I think it's Nick, Nick Campion. What stands out? What stands in the way of opening it?

James Rabe (00:58): I understand there's lots of repairs that need to be made, but is that what would keep the pool from opening?

Mayor Kim Norton (01:00): Yeah, they they've done repairs over the years, primarily over at soldier's field, but there was water leakage, which they talked about and then they do try catching, you know, and then hoping that they can stop it. But I think there's real, um, serious structural issues. And I, I, you know, we have water pumps and all sorts of things that are, you know, aging out.

These are, these are now 40, 50 year old pools. And as you've seen in the community surrounding Rochester, many of them have been vested in city parks. And we just have not because we've had these two historic parks and, you know, we just have them satisfied, but now they're reaching the end of their life and we have to make a decision about investing in them. And ...which is probably a, perhaps a full replacement. We're no longer as a patching up place for not having one.

Kim David/TSM
Soldiers Field Pool Kim David/TSM

Andy Brownell (01:49): So the decision tonight before the council will be whether to open it for just this summer, it won't be a...stay open decision.

Mayor Kim Norton (01:56): No, Nope. This will just be an emergency kind of request of the park board who had decided not to open it to say, would you please open it this year? Um,

James Rabe (02:20): We are talking to me or Kim Norton here on Rochester today. Rochester's Newstalk 1340, KROC AM and 96.9 FM. If you'd like to call two eight two one two three four. I suppose, part of the problem is that in previous years, many previous years, they put off doing updates or repairs because it would cost so much money. And now we're here in a situation where it's just much worse.

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Michael Smith, Getty Images

Mayor Kim Norton (02:40): Uh, I think that's part of it. I think there's a number of things that have come into play. You know, we've had some cold seasons where the pools are open, it's a cold summer and they haven't been able to, you know, they haven't been particularly financially viable. So that, that comes into play a little bit too. Um, but also, yes. Um, I think you're right on that. And, and, uh, so we underfund our parks. I will just say that. That's why the referendum was so important to me in this community to be able to repair and fix up parks all over the whole city. But understanding that a repair like this is very expensive beyond what that referendum was intended for

James Rabe (03:21): The 19. I think the number was something like nine, nine, 900,000,

Mayor Kim Norton (03:25): Right? So if you're going to replace the pool and put in some other features and have a real updated contemporary pool, it's going to cost much, much more than that. And if so, the city has to decide the budget for it.


Andy Brownell (03:38): You know, the story I had heard, and this is one of those could be an urban legend type story, was that the pool managed to operate so well for so many years because the person who was in charge of, you know, firing up the pumps and doing everything you needed to do knew all the tricks that, Oh, if I go take the hammer and bang on this thing, and I take the screwdriver and kind of tweak this, everything will fall into place and the valves will open. And then of course this person retired and that institutional knowledge went away. And then it was, Oh my goodness, how do we run this thing? And I would love to have that verified, but I've heard that story from city people more than once.

Mayor Kim Norton (04:16): So that's surprising. I would just say we do have a lot of institutional knowledge from people that worked at the city for 30, 40 years, a lifetime career who have retired over the past few years. And we was a lot of that.

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams 6a to 10a on Y-105 FM's Early Morning Show.

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