Council approves challenge grant for pool funding
By Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Aldermen have agreed to cover half the cost of a proposed new swimming pool for the city, if community fundraising efforts can raise the other half.
The common council voted 8-to-2 Oct. 9 in favor of a challenge grant. City Parks & Recreation Director Justin Casperson has estimated the cost of a new municipal swimming pool at $6 million, and he proposed a challenge grant in which the city will match every dollar raised privately – up to a maximum of $3 million.
While he did go along with the challenge grant, Alderman Chris Jockheck initially suggested the city might want to borrow for the entire pool replacement project–noting that private fundraising efforts might not be successful enough to cover the whole thing.
“Out of some frustration with this four or five months ago, maybe not that long ago, I asked Steve (Barg) to ask our financial analyst what does borrowing $6 million over 20 years cost a household – a $100,000 household,” he said. “The answer is $32. That is it — $32. I believe in the CIP we have committed to $2.8 (million.) If we went up to $3 (million,) we’ve already asked people to commit half of that, so an additional commitment would be $16 a year on a $100,000 home. That’s a meal at McDonald’s – that’s it!”
Alderman Mike Feirer thought the dollar-for-dollar match was the right way to go, especially for those who support the new pool.
“It’s going to be successful; you just have to have faith in it,” he said. “Because people that don’t like football fields, that don’t like libraries, that don’t like STEM buildings, do like pools.”
Casperson said the city’s level of commitment was something potential donors would want to know before contributing to the project.
“One of the things we want to do is test the market, talk to potential donors,” he said. “We want to be prepared to answer the question, ‘What is the city going to commit to the project. What is their feeling or how do they sit?’ I want to comfortably say something. I don’t want to say that ‘we are sitting on the fence and we don’t quite know where we sit, and we have to wait.” I don’t want donors to get cold feet and not jump into this project.
Gordy Earll and Steve Mac Swain voted against the challenge grant concept presented last night.
The city’s current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2020 includes funding for a replacement of Hefko Pool.
No formal fundraising process has been started.