Rosemount residents want more facilities for young people as the city continues to expand and develop — and a long-sought community pool could be the next project.
A $1.5 million windfall from funds set aside by a local landfill operator is helping to kick-start plans for a new community YMCA, which would include a pool.
For more than five years, money was dumped into a trust fund by an industrial landfill on the outskirts of the city while officials waited to put it toward a community project. Now, with SKB Environmental's five-year extension being renewed, which will allow the company to expand the landfill, city officials decided it was the best time to liquidate the fund.
"A YMCA would be a great asset for a neighborhood community," Mayor Bill Droste said.
But the details on the plan aren't set in stone, and it could be a while until any construction starts. The city still hasn't determined what it would cost, whether other institutions will join in the collaborative effort and who would pay how much.
The City Council approved the plan to liquidate the SKB Trust Fund last month, but the process for the city to retrieve the money could take several months. In that time, city officials will focus on choosing a location.
Both sides of Akron Avenue on County Road 42 are potential sites that could create partnerships for the project, City Administrator Dwight Johnson said. The plots are owned by Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) and the University of Minnesota's UMore Park, respectively, and both entities are interested in working with the city to build and run the YMCA.
UMore Park officials are hoping to use the facility when they build homes on and develop the surrounding land, Johnson said.
The pool is a top attraction for the potential partners and the city.
Rosemount residents have been desperate for a pool for more than a decade, Droste said, and if all goes as planned, the city would work out an agreement with YMCA that would allow residents to use the indoor swimming pool for free or at a reduced price.
The city has been working with YMCA for four to five years in hopes of forming a collaboration, he said.
In 2011, the city and DCTC had plans to build a YMCA in the same location they're looking at now, but efforts stalled when former DCTC President Ronald Thomas left last summer, Droste said. Interim President Tim Wynes is serving through the 2014-2015 school year.
Community Development Director Kim Lindquist, who has been working with DCTC and UMore on the YMCA project, said both entities see a benefit, but neither has committed to being involved.
Droste said the lack of facilities for young people has especially been a challenge for the city recently. About 7,000 Rosemount residents, nearly one-third of the city's population, are younger than 18.
"It's a wonderful issue when you have a large number of youth in your city, but it can create problems when you're looking at facilities," he said. "You have to give and create spaces for children for activities."
Meghan Holden is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.