By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD — If the city of Marshfield decides to build a new aquatic center, it should go on the site of the current municipal swimming pool. That is the recommendation from the city’s Pool Study Committee, which presented its findings to the Marshfield Common Council May 23.
Chairman Ben Lee said the committee looked at 20 sites around the city, eventually narrowed that list down to eight, and finally settled on the site that is currently home to Hefko Pool.
Lee explained, “We decided we needed to make an objective matrix — some way to score all the sites — rather than just say, ‘Well, I guess I kind of like one site.’ We said, ‘We’ve got to make a matrix and determine which one, (based) on a number of criteria, works, ‘ and score them. And with each one of the components, we also weighted the score of each one. Some decisions might have more weight than other ones. We took criteria and then added a weight value to each one of these items.
“Our group as a consensus worked through the scoring and weighting of each one, and then all 13 members took all the information and scored each site independently of each other so that we wouldn’t be accused of one person’s bias affecting another person’s.”
Lee said the eight site finalists were graded on factors like space, cost, safety concerns, aesthetics, proximity to the city’s trail system, economic impact to neighboring businesses, and future expansion possibilities for other recreation amenities.
Besides Hefko, Lee said the other site finalists included Braem Park, the Felker Brothers property, the city’s Street Department property near Jack Hackman Field, the open space adjacent to First Presbyterian Church along Lincoln Avenue, the former United Rental location on South Oak Avenue, and two locations at Griese Park. Twelve other sites were eliminated for various reasons, such as space restrictions and aesthetics.
The issue with the current Hefko Pool location is that the city’s utility has identified the site as a possible location for new storage and garage space, which could force the aquatic center to move elsewhere.
Lee said the Pool Study Committee would be looking for future direction from the council at its next meeting June 13. The committee began meeting last summer and told the council in January that a new outdoor aquatic center with various amenities could cost as much as $6 million.