By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

The sun is shining, the water is cool and kids will be splashing once again at the Spring Grove Swim Center. 

The Spring Grove City Council discussed guidelines and rules for aquatic centers in the new era of COVID-19 at its regular meeting on June 16. 

Set to open June 27 at 1 p.m., the capacity of the pool will not exceed 160 people, based on Gov. Tim Walz’s orders. Thus, visitors to the pool are restricted to Spring Grove School District 297 and those who are open-enrolled. If the regulations change, the city could open it up to other cities. 

Each household will complete a one-time registration form before going to the pool or turning it into the pool on their first visit. Patrons may also be asked standard health questions at the Swim Center upon arrival. 

Admission is $3 per day and $2 for Friday night swim. Punch cards are available for $30 for 11 punches. No passes will be sold this summer. 

Chairs and tables will not be provided, but patrons are welcome to bring their own chairs and towels. Social distancing of six feet between households still applies. 

Concessions will be limited to pre-packaged food at this time. Private lessons and water aerobics are still taking place. No pool parties will be allowed right now. 

Swim Center hours are Monday-Sunday 1 to 6 p.m., Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m.

The council relayed a plan for sanitizing had been prepared by Swim Center Manager Harlee Gavin. Plans were also in place for taking temperatures, a limited number of kids on the stairs for the slides and one door in, one door out. 

COVID-19 updates

In other COVID-19 updates, the council approved a request by Spring Grove Assisted Living to block off a section of 5th Ave. SE in order to provide musical entertainment for residents of the center and Gundersen Tweeten Nursing Home. Dates are not yet specific, but it would take place in the afternoon. 

They also made it clear the entertainment would be for residents only, not public. At this time, the public cannot attend the entertainment for residents’ safety. 

The council agreed to the request, as long as a week notice is provided to the city and no emergency entrances nor the entrance to the clinic were blocked by the entertainment.

City Hall will remain closed, though the city does have a preparedness plan ready to go if it does open. City Hall staff said they would feel safer if the doors remained closed. The council had not received any complaints about people having trouble getting licenses or help. The dropbox is checked daily. 

The log cabin is open for worship service, but neither that location nor the Fest Building will be available for rentals. 

As for the concession stand at the baseball field, if it were to open only prepackaged food would be available. 

The council also approved a COVID-19 preparedness plan, which will “mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and communities...” Efforts include cleaning, disinfecting, screening, handwashing, social distancing and a number of other measures to protect city staff.

CUP approved

The council approved a conditional use permit for Red’s IGA to add a brew pub within the existing space of Jo’s Coffee House. They would add brewing equipment into their existing space. Patrick Longmire said he would need a license to serve alcohol and off-sale. The plan is to open spring or summer of 2021. 

The council allowed him to set open hours between noon to 1 a.m., though all of those hours would not necessarily be used. The city will also have to check on the number of liquor licenses they have left to issue. 

Other news

The council designated the Caledonia Argus as the city’s official newspaper. 

For the new water tower, a soil study found petroleum contanimation in the soil while excavating for the tower footing. The discovery was confirmed by American Engineering Testing and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) required the “grossly contanimated” soils to be disposed of.

The disposal costs is eligible for a Minnesota Department of Commerce “Petrofund” program, which reimburses the city up to 90% of that cost. The tower should start going up soon and on time. 

The council approved Dunn Blacktop Company of Winona to mill and overlay several sections of road in Spring Grove. They won the bid at $81,708, over a bid from Four Season Maintenance LLC for $111,210. 

Summer recreation employees were hired including Kennedy Bornholdt, Ellie Halverson, Blaine Storlie, Chandler Bergrud, Logan Brumm, Jaxon Strinmoen and Sam Bratland. 

The filing period for the election of council seats is from July 28-Aug. 11. The mayor position and two council (Karen Folstad and Travis Torgerson) seats are up. 

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Spring Grove City Council will be July 21 at 6 p.m. Council members discussed whether or not to hold the meeting in-person. More information about that type of meeting will be announced soon. 

The council will also hold a meeting on Tuesday, June 30 at 6 p.m. to review the city’s comprehensive plan.

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