By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Common Council will seek input from the Marshfield Utility Commission on the future site of the proposed new aquatic center being considered by the city.
In May the Marshfield Pool Study Committee presented to the council after considering locations for a new aquatic center to replace the aging Hefko Pool. Based on the study, the current site of the municipal pool was the favored location.
This site, however, presents a problem as it is tagged as an area for future development for Marshfield Utilities.
“If we keep the pool in the current location, there may be some changes to what the utility does long-term planning for their facilities, so I really think the next step, if that is a site we want to look at, is to get the utilities to the table and have a conversation about how this impacts what it is they are planning to do,” said Mayor Chris Meyer. “I heard a lot of people say, ‘Why wouldn’t you just keep it on the current site? It’s free. You already own it.’ The fact of the matter is if it causes the utility to do something more expensive somewhere else in town, there is a cost, and those numbers are very broad right now. I couldn’t give you any specific numbers, but it wasn’t little numbers. It was millions of dollars in potential changes, cost increases to do this somewhere else.”
Alderman Ed Wagner stressed the importance of the economic impact on the site location and where it most benefits the area in which the aquatic center might be constructed.
“In the city’s comprehensive plan, the south end is defined as a redevelopment area, an area we are going to look at and a place we are going to invest in with city funds in the next 10 years to try and help it out,” Wagner said. “I want to see a return on the investment. We are going to spend the money on this one way or the other. No matter where it goes, we are going to spend the money.
“I just want to see us get the biggest bang we can get for the buck out of it.”
The common council voted 8 to 1, with Mike Feirer absent, for city staff to present the Pool Study Committee’s results to the Marshfield Utility Commission. The commission will be directed to respond within 60 days.