Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken this week unveiled initial details for a planned $77 million bond to fund a new pool at Kuehn Park, and indoor pool and recreation center at Frank Olson and the purchase of the Sanford Wellness Center on Tea/Ellis Road.

Why it matters

  • The city has been talking for the last several years about replacing the aging pools at Kuehn Park and Frank Olson Park, as well as the wading pool at McKennan Park. The parks department has held over 20 community meetings and sought feedback via online surveys in the last couple of years in preparation.
  • Fairly early on in the community discussions, conversations shifted from outdoor pools to indoor recreation centers – discussions bolstered by increasing demand at the city's existing indoor pools at the Midco Aquatic Center.
  • The mayor again emphasized the need for more indoor recreation this week when he announced that the city plans to purchase the west-side Sanford Wellness Center for $9 million.
"We feel strongly this is a great opportunity for Sanford Health, the city and the communities we both serve," said Steve Young, president of Sanford Sports. "Our common goal is to keep the communities we serve healthy and thriving."

Tell me more about what's in the bond

Here's the breakdown:

  • $47 million for a new, 80,000-square-foot indoor recreation center and pool at Frank Olson Park,
  • $18 million for a new outdoor pool at Kuehn Park,
  • $9 million to purchase the Sanford Wellness Center,
  • $3 million for improvements to the wellness center including re-roofing, work on the parking lot, carpet, signage and more, Parks Director Don Kearney said.

The city declined to share renderings of Frank Olson and Kuehn Park pool plans, citing that they weren't yet finalized. Specific details about those projects are expected to be unveiled at final public meetings next week.

Tell me more about the Sanford Wellness Center purchase

The building will transition to the city's ownership over the next six or seven months, if the purchase is approved by the City Council, Kearney said.

  • Sanford members will continue to have access in the meantime.

The building will be renamed, but it's too soon to say what that'll be. TenHaken mentioned that the city is looking for sponsors and that there are several naming opportunities.

It's too soon to say exactly what memberships will look like under the city's ownership, and there are also some staffing questions still to be figured out.

What happens next?

The parks board will vote on the bond next week, and it'll move to the City Council for a formal vote on May 7 and 14.