City of Elk Horn looking to make a big splash with donation drive

$100,000 needed for pool projects

 ELK HORN —  In the spring of 1966, residents of Elk Horn decided the town needed a swimming pool. Rather than using tax payer money to fund the project, it was decided each family in the community would be asked to donate $100. By the time the pool was dedicated on August 23, 1966, 328 families had contributed to the pool fund. According to the Elk Horn Community History Book, total donations for the pool construction amounted to approximately $28,000 of the $34,300 needed for construction.
 Now, decades later, the city is once again requesting the public’s help for some much needed projects at the pool.
 The City of Elk Horn funds the pool, City Clerk Chelsee Jacobsen said. “Most years, we are lucky to break even,” noting the summer the pool was closed due to COVID was the “best year financially.”
 “It’s a lot of work and a lot of expense.” She said the cost of chemicals averages $5,000 a year.
 The pool will need repainted before opening day 2023, a project needing done every six to eight years. This is an additional $29,640 expense.
 In addition, Jacobsen said, “We have been dinged during inspections for not having a handicap lift.”
 “We were told last year, ‘If you don’t get it, you won’t open.’”
 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Requirements state “For an existing pool, removing barriers may involve installation of a fixed pool lift with independent operation by the user or other accessible means of entry that complies with the 2010 Standards to the extent that it is readily achievable to do so. If installation of a fixed lift is not readily achievable, the public accommodation may then consider alternatives such as use of a portable pool lift that complies with the 2010 Standards.”
 Jacobsen reported the lift will cost $4,500-$6,500, not including engineering, freight, or installation.
 In addition to the painting and lift, the city would like to reconstruct the pool house using  the existing exterior. This would include updating the building from its original layout, which is currently also not ADA accessible.
 The project would include renovating the bathroom and shower area, and Jacobsen noted the lack of covered bathrooms are both a safety and security issue.
 The plan would have the west half contain the restrooms, and the east be utilized for the concession stand and kitchen. A breezeway would join the two in the center, allowing a shaded place for patrons.
 It is a tradition to have every lifeguard at the Elk Horn Public Pool sign their name to the concession walls.
 “It’s very memorable,” Jacobsen noted. “I bet there are over 1,000 signatures that go all the way from the concrete floor to the rafters.”
 She said the redesign would take away the signatures, but “There’s a time and place when it needs done.”
 “That time is now.”
 The amount needed for all projects is an estimated $100,000. If the funds are raised, reconstruction of the pool house will begin after the season starts.  
 “I’m not just doing this as the City Clerk,” Jacobsen said. “My kids use the pool. I use the pool. I see the city’s financial side of it, but as a resident of Elk Horn with four children, I would love to see it updated.”
 “It’s a gift to the city.”
 Donations may be dropped off at City Hall, or mailed to City of Elk Horn,  PO Box 216, Elk Horn, IA 51531. Please write “Pool House Fund” in the memo line.
 Online donations may be made through the city’s online payment service (use the “pay fee” option).
 Jacobsen said other fundraisers are being planned, including  a food fundraiser during the citywide garage sales.
 The city has applied for and received grants to help with the projects, including one received last year from the Shelby County Community Foundation and possible grant approval is pending from the Iowa West Foundation.
 In the meantime — just as they did in 1966 — the City of Elk Horn is asking for the public’s assistance in raising money to support the pool.
 “We’re Danish,” Jacobsen said.
 “We come together when we need to.”




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