Weather Forecast


Group petitions city for Wellness Center whirlpool

A local petition group has entered into the community discussion of what the coming Wellness Center will be like with a request that its leader feels will lead to an advantage for the new building over other community centers in the area. Ed Blazek said his petition for a whirlpool to be included as part of the Wellness Center plan has already received nearly 200 signatures, and after May 15, he will present all of  them to the Wadena City Council.

A former member of the old community center that was destroyed in the 2010 tornado, Blazek said that the new Wellness Center will be in direct competition with neighboring community centers that have aquatics equipment. He named Thumper Pond in Ottertail as an example.

“If people have a choice of our center or Thumper Pond… they’d choose that (Thumper Pond) every time,” he said. “We need a whirlpool to get members.”

Blazek advocates putting in three pools that are each 8 feet in diameter, similar to the pool in the old community center. He said having several smaller whirlpools over one large one would save costs because one small-version whirlpool could be in use while the others were closed.  A whirlpool was part of the Wellness Center plans at one point, Blazek said, but has since been removed.

In his estimation, there would be no overlap between benefits provided by the petitioned-for whirlpool and the warm-water therapy pool that is already planned to be part of the center.

“It’s totally different,” he said. “The therapy pool was built for the hospital. That’s for treating extremely ill people.”

The petitioners’ pool would also have a therapeutic effect, but Blazek said the whirlpool is geared towards relieving stress and milder injuries, as well as recreation. 

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden said that to his knowledge the whirlpool was never a part of Wellness Center plans, but he could see where the petitioners were coming from.

“I understand the rationale that folks like to sit in a hot tub and soak and things like that,” Wolden said. “I look forward to the discussion.”

Wolden added that an aquatic engineer would be brought in specifically to address the petition group’s concerns during a public informational meeting on the project scheduled for April 18.