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Marshfield City Council Agrees to Pool Challenge
Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 -- 8:13 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

(WDLB) -Marshfield Aldermen have agreed to cover half the cost of a proposed new swimming pool for the city, if community fundraising efforts can raise the other half.

The Common Council voted 8-to-2 last night in favor of a challenge grant. City Parks-and-Recreation Director Justin Casperson has estimated the cost of a new municipal swimming pool at six-million dollars, and he proposed a challenge grant in which the city will match every dollar raised privately--up to a maximum of three-million dollars. While he did go along with the challenge grant, Alderman Chris Jockheck initially suggested the city might want to borrow for the entire pool replacement project--noting that private fundraising efforts might not be successful enough to cover the whole thing.

"Out of some frustration with this, four or five months ago, I asked our financial analyst what does borrowing six million dollars over 20 years, what does that cost a household? A $100,000 household. The answer is $32 a year. That's it. $32. I believe we have committed to 2.8, we went up to 3 just for round numbers. We've already asked people to commit half of that. So, an additional commitment would be $16 per year on a $100,000 home. That's a meal at McDonalds. That's it!"

Alderman Mike Feirer thought the dollar-for-dollar match was the right way to go, especially for those who support the new pool.

"It is going to be successful. You just have to have faith in it. There's people that don't like football fields, that don't like libraries and don't like STEM buildings, but they do like pools."

Alderman Tom Witzel questioned Casperson on whether he thought the city's level of commitment was something potential donors would want to know before contributing to the project.

"One of the things we want to do is test the market if you will. Go out and talk with potential donors and we want to be prepared for the question of what is the city going to commit to the project or what is the feeling or how do they sit. I want to comfortably say something. I don't want to say we're just on the fence and don't know where we sit and we'll have to wait. I don't want donors to get cold feet and not jump into this project."

Gordy Earll and Steve Mac Swain voted against the challenge grant concept presented last night. The city's current Capital Improvement Plan for 2020 includes funding for a replacement for Hefko Pool. No formal fundraising process has yet been started.

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