Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - After years of discussion, it appears a plan for replacing the aging Silver Lake swimming pool in Rochester is coming together.

5th Ward City Councilmember Shaun Palmer has long championed the cause and now says it's possible the project could get underway later this year. The concept plan calls for a utilitarian facility designed to be used mainly for swimming lessons and swimming laps, but would also be available for recreational swimmers or just cooling off on a hot summer day.

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The concept described by Councilmember Palmer would be a simple rectangle design that would be 25-yards long and with enough width to accommodate 8 swimming lanes. It would have a maximum depth of 8-feet with a ramp leading into the shallow end to accommodate mobility-limited individuals.

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The big question has always been how to pay for it. Palmer says city staff is being directed to research potential funding sources to cover the estimated $4 million price tag for a new pool and bathhouse, including other city funds and grants. In what Palmer describes as a "worst case scenario," members of the City Council have expressed a willingness to boost the city's property tax by a half of a percentage point for the next 10 years to fund the project.

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A resolution before the City Council tonight also provides $100,000 from the city's contingency fund to keep the current Silver Lake Pool open this summer. It also authorizes city staff to develop the final designs and seek bids for a splash pad, improvements to the skate park area, what's known as the confluence area, and the west playground and shelter area of Silver Lake Park.

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