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Council chews over options for proposed wellness center

The Wadena city council discussed options for the future of the proposed wellness center during a special meeting Thursday, June 23. At the time, the governor and Legislature were in a deadlock, heading toward government shutdown.

City Administrator Brad Swenson said that in applying for the regular bonding bill for the year 2012, the expectation is a 50 percent match for the local community with the state paying 50 percent. The idea for the wellness center has the state picking up 80 percent.

The council discussed allowing the hockey program to go forward with an ice arena to bring back indoor games in case they would not receive funding from the state.

Miller said that if state bonding money is used, the ice arena would need to meet certain energy standards.

John Paulson, representing Tri-County Community Center, said that the utility bills at the old community center were not even close to the estimated utility bills for the proposed new wellness center.

"We all received a bunch of letters from a bunch of young people here in our mailboxes," Mayor Wayne Wolden said. "I read every one of them."

Council member Jeanette Baymler asked if the hockey arena could be built separately and then attached to the rest of the wellness center later.

"I would like to see those kids get in their hockey arena so they can get inside," she said.

The council discussed the relationship of the Highway 10 Leaf River Ag property to the wellness center.

If the railroad spur project does not go through, Leaf River Ag may have to keep a presence on its Highway 10 propery which would impact current building plans for the proposed wellness center.

The council discussed the proposed warm-water therapy pool with Kathy Kleen of Tri-County Health Care. Kleen said it would be okay for the therapy pool to be in the same room as the larger pool. For each patient, two people would need to be on staff: the therapist, plus an extra person like the larger pool's lifeguard. Therapy would take place four to six hours a day and could grow when available.

The proposed warm-water pool would also be open to the public outside of therapy hours.

Mike Brandt said the ideal size of a therapy pool is 12 feet by 17 feet.

The minimum size of the pool would be 10 feet by 12 feet, which would cut down on costs but leave fewer options for activities.

For accessibility, a lift and staggered steps were recommended as they would take less space than a zero entry slope.

Council member Don Niles said the larger pool could be used for aerobics.