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Committee will present final report on Preston Recreational Facility on July 21

Fri, Jul 11th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Steering Committee for the proposed Root River Recreational Facility in Preston will make their final report to the Preston City Council at their July 21 meeting. The committee has been looking into the feasibility of building a combination aquatic-recreational center adjacent to the Fillmore Central Middle School in Preston. Over the past few years, the committee has looked into the marketability of a recreational facility, the capacity for fundraising in the area and design specifications and costs. In the course of their activities, the committee visited recreational facilities throughout the region.Also attending the council meeting on July 21 will be architects from TSP in Rochester and fundraisers from Crescendo Consulting in Winona. The idea for a facility arose when city leaders looked at the potential need to replace the present outdoor pool in Preston which is more than 40 years old. It was estimated that it would cost $1.5 million to replace the outdoor pool. A survey was conducted in Preston in December 2000 which showed strong public interest in looking into the feasibility of an indoor pool facility. This led to a Steering Committee being formed, which has been headed up by former City Council member Steve Knoepke. In September 2001, funding from the Preston Area Foundation allowed the committee to hire SNG Research of Rochester to conduct a marketing survey of Preston and the surrounding area. Again, the research showed that residents living within a 15 mile radius of Preston showed strong support for an indoor facility. The research also showed that potential members were interested in both aquatic and recreational activities, including running track, exercise equipment, lap swimming as well as family related pool activities. In 2002, Crescendo Consulting was hired to carry out a community assessment of the fundraising capacity in the area. Their December 2002 report showed that there was strong philanthropic capacity in the area for a recreational facility. Crescendo concluded that there was the capacity to raise $3 million in private money.The Steering Committee’s activities over the last few months have focused on design specifications and costs. Earlier designs came in at more than 30,000 square feet and at costs in excess of $5 million. Modifications, which included consolidating pools into one multiple-use pool and using alternative building materials, have reduced costs and square footage. On the 21st, TSP will present to the city a new design that is 27,255 square feet and will cost approximately $3.5 million to build. With engineering costs and contingencies, the total will exceed $4 million.“A lot of people have come together to work on this,” Steve Knoepke, Steering Committee Chairman, said. “If it is built, it would be a great asset for the city of Preston, the students of Fillmore Central and residents of the area. Now it is time to see what the City Council would like to do.”

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