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Council listens to therapy pool pitch

The Wadena City Council was in a special meeting March 15 about the proposed wellness center at the time they got word about a chance to testify in St. Paul for the project on Monday, March 19.

Kathy Kleen and Shelaugh Carlson, representing Tri-County Health Care, discussed the planned therapy pool for the first hour of the meeting along with Mike Brandt of Perkins + Will and financial advisor Mike Craig.

Kleen said the new therapy pool would meet Medicare's requirements.

Brandt said that since it is in a separate room - not together with the other pools like in earlier plans - it would have acoustical privacy. The therapy pool area would have its own separate locker, ADA accessible toilet and changing room. The pool itself would be about 12 feet by 24 feet, not including the ramps.

Kleen said a depth of 3.5 to 4.5 feet is what experts recommend.

Very early wellness center plans had called for a spa, but Brandt said that pool consultants nowadays generally discourage spas because they are harder to keep clean.

Carlson said the therapy pool, which could be used by the general public when it is not being used for therapy, would be somewhat similar to a spa. Ninety-two degrees - though less than a hot tub temperature - is the ideal temperature for a therapy pool, and it was possible to include jets if people want a spa feel.

Carlson said that because of new regulations, they can no longer use the AmericInn pool for therapy.

Kleen said her daughter, Anna, had to go all the way to Golden Valley for warm water therapy when she was paralyzed. The mother and daughter later testified on Monday.

Council member Jeanette Baymler said it would be good to have a warm water therapy pool in the area because not everyone in a similar situation has the means to take trips to the Twin Cities.

John Paulson, Shanna VanBruggen, Scott Carr and Brandi Anderson of the community center organization joined the meeting to discuss fitness and pool facilities after the hospital representatives left.

In other aquatic plans, the consensus was that the proposed waterslide should be within budget, but reasonably long and not just a kiddie slide.

A new illustration of the wellness center plan has the waterslide going into a separate splash pool, not the lap pool.

The plan for the second floor calls for a walking track which Brandt said is 13 laps to the mile and could be possibly connected to the school via skyway in the future.

Brandt said earlier talks about walls that could open up would not be financially feasible and not energy efficient.

Mayor Wayne Wolden got notification on via smartphone during the meeting that Wadena had the chance to testify about including the wellness center for the 2012 bonding bill Monday evening.

The wellness center was included on Governor Mark Dayton's proposed bonding plans several weeks ago, but on Tuesday it was left out of the House of Representatives version of the bonding bill.

A community input meeting about wellness center plans is scheduled to be held this upcoming Thursday, March 29 from 7-9 p.m. at the city council chambers.