CDBG funds awarded for Nat demolition, park upgrades

City Commissioners approved $200,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding during their Feb. 7 meeting for the demolition of the Natatorium.

The Park and Recreation department plans to remove the Nat building and install a new play structure, pavilion, sidewalks and update the basketball court.

The project is expected to be completed in the fall.

City plans to demolish Natatorium by end of June

Commissioners voted unanimously during their Jan. 17 meeting to approve a $34,250 professional services agreement with TD&H Engineering for design and construction phases to support the demolition of the 17,200 square foot Natatorium, which has been closed since the end of 2018.

The decision to close the Nat came after bricks fell off the exterior of the building in early 2018, exposing additional problems with the façade and roof with repairs at an estimated $539,834 to $613,088.

The Natatorium is located at 2nd Avenue North and 12th Street.

The planning phase is funded by park maintenance district funds, according to Steve Herrig, Park and Rec director.

Construction progressing on city’s new indoor aquatic facility

The demolition is expected to be completed this summer, according to Herrig.Morony Park improvements Feb 2023

The Natatorium is being replaced by the indoor aquatic and recreation center currently under construction in Lions Park.

That facility is expected to open next spring.

The city hired a consultant to help with private fundraising for the new aquatic center and that is underway.

Herrig said he’d update the commission soon on that progress.

The new aquatic center does include a water slide, and the design team is working to add the outdoor splash pad back into the design, dependent on costs.

Herrig said staff are hoping to conduct abatement testing this month, then go out to bid for the demolition, which will hopefully start by May or June. He said they have to demo the building and also dig out all the pool materials, then fill in the void and compact areas for the playground and pavilion.

If any CDBG funds are left over from demolition, Herrig said it can be used toward the new playground equipment.

City approves contract changes for indoor aquatics center

The current Nat was built in 1966, after its predecessor on the same site was closed in 1963 due to significant settling throughout the building causing walls to shift, the pool to leak and the foundation to crack, according to a memo from City Manager Greg Doyon during the city’s 2018 budget process, which included multiple public meetings.

A 2011 study found masonry staining, groundwater concerns, water leakage in the basement and other nonstructural issues. The high water table at the site was also a concern in the report and it recommended projects totaling $997,114 that should be done over 1 to 50 years, according to city records.

Proposed pool fee increases small; aquatics program facing larger budgetary challenges

Since then, the city partially removed the top of nonbearing load walls to allow for foundational movement, mud jacking and door replacement.

Since 2004, the city completed more than $357,939 in repairs including roof repairs, ventilation tunnels around the pool were filled with concrete since they were in danger of collapsing, a new pool liner, drain pipe liner, boiler replacement, pool desk resurfacing, asbestos testing, southwest corner to women’s locker room lifted due to cracks and settling in foundation, doors and door jams replaced.