SIOUX CITY | The city's proposed splash pad plan to replace the shuttered Cook Pool was met with a splash of opposition at the public input meeting Tuesday.
The meeting in the City Council chambers at City Hall encouraged input from the public on whether the city should move forward with the project after Cook Pool shuttered permanently at the end of the 2016 pool season. The city had originally set aside funding to demolish the aging pool this year and replace it with a splash pad by next summer. The proposed 47-by-62-foot splash pad is budgeted to cost $200,000 and would be completed by the summer of 2018.
About two dozen citizens came to express their concerns over the splash pad. Many mentioned their worries on the safety of children at the splash pad since the surrounding Cook Park is often populated with homeless people. And they did not believe many children would use the splash pad. The public also expressed many alternative ideas to use the money, such as updating the park with new soccer fields and basketball courts.
Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore said after hearing the concerns and discussions, he believes issuing a survey to residents in the neighborhoods around Cook Park would be the best way to gauge how the city should go about developing the park.
"We are not going to rush into this, anything that would occur in the summer of 2017, is probably not going to happen," Salvatore said after the hour-and-15-minute public discussion. "We will get to work right away, but we will try to push something out maybe at the beginning of the year just to see what people want -- to gather that data -- and to at least provide an opportunity for the people to view the data. Then we will make decisions based on that."
At the July 11 City Council meeting, Girls Inc. had requested the city postpone demolition of the pool to allow the organization to research ways to sustain Cook Pool. Girls Inc. notified the city that they could not think of a workable operation model for the pool in October.
While the transition at Cook Pool has been delayed, plans continue on schedule to replace the former Leeds Pool with a splash pad by next summer.