Guttenberg swimming pool dedication and open house

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Wave of the Future becomes a reality The dedication and grand opening of the new Guttenberg Swimming Pool was held Wednesday, July 17, and marked the culmination of many years of planning and fund-raising by the Wave of the Future committee. The event featured remarks by Mayor Bill Frommelt, right, as well as by other speakers. See story below. (Press photo by Austin Greve)

By Caroline Rosacker

An open house dedication and grand opening was held on Wednesday, July 17, for the newly-built Guttenberg Municipal Swimming Pool. The event was held at the pool by invitation from 3-5 p.m. for funders and major donors to tour the new facility and enjoy a private swim. A public dedication was held at 5 p.m. followed by a free open swim until 8 p.m. Refreshments were served at the landmark event.  

On a warm summer evening with the threat of thunderstorms in the forecast, the group gathered together to celebrate the hard work, generosity and dedication the community provided to make the city's new pool a reality. 

The new pool replaced the community's aging pool that previously served the community for 45 years. 

Honorary co-chairs Dr. Jim Osterhaus and Dr. Robert Merrick led the effort to raise over $830,000 from individual donors and over $228,000 from businesses in pledges and in-kind services. 

Speakers at the event included Dr. Robert Merrick, Mayor Bill Frommelt, Jaderial Staebler, pool manager, and Penny Hansel, who led the dedication of the new pool. 

Dr. Merrick opened the ceremony and expressed his gratitude to the community for its support. "Our purpose today is to record and dedicate our community's accomplishment. I welcome everyone here including the residents of this beautiful area, all donors, Wave of the Future campaign volunteers, elected officials, funding partners, and Wave of the Future Committee," said Merrick. 

Dr. Merrick shared a brief history of the project. "About 10 years ago, the City of Guttenberg, together with the Recreation Board, began studying the condition of the original pool, which was built in 1974," he said. "These leaders were faced with the possibility of total replacement of antiquated equipment and the pool vessel."

In 2014, the Wave of the Future Committee was appointed by the City to formally study and recommend future actions to remedy the existing problems. "We thank Mayor Russell Loven and former City Manager Mary Willet for taking action to engage pool users to lead the solution to the aging pool." 

The following individuals have served on the Wave of the Future Committee since 2014: Co-Chairs Bec Knudtson and Jessica Cline; Dr. John Barron, Deb Moser, Molly Moser, Jane Parker, M.J. Smith, Mary Streich and Al Ullerich. "These nine pool users, as citizen volunteers, directed the successful community effort we celebrate today," said Merrick 

The Wave of the Future Committee was supported by the Wave of the Future Campaign Team which included more than 30 volunteers who visited campgrounds, went door-to-door with literature, hosted fundraisers, and shared the story of the pool's history and purpose with all residents. Dr. Merrick shared, "Their outreach was directly responsible for the successful fundraising and bond issue passage."

Included within this Campaign Team was the grant-writing team whose members included Molly Moser, Peg Thein and Norma Thiese. The group secured more than $600K in funding.

Dr. Merrick expressed thanks to  city officials and staff members for their support. "The Guttenberg city staff and council supported the Wave of the Future Committee by approving the finance package, pool design and bond issue," he said. "These leaders include current City Manager Denise Schneider, former city clerk Debbie Eulberg, and city staff members Jamie Blume, Jessie Bittner, Michele Meyer, Danny Walke and Dan Pierce." 

In conjunction with the city staff, current Mayor Bill Frommelt, former councilman Steve Friedlein and current council members Virginia Saeugling, Jane Parker, Austin Greve, Mick Pierce and Fred Schaub aided in the success of the project. 

Merrick commented, "I find it interesting the Wave of the Future campaign did not come close to its original goal of $1,000,000. Rather, we received over $1.5 million from our incredibly generous donors and grant funders." 

The April 2018 bond issue for $2.8 million to complete the finance package was approved by 79% of the voters and led to Portzen Constuction of Dubuque submitting the winning bid for the new pool. The project was advised by Burbach Aquatics Inc. of Platteville, Wis. 

Mayor Frommelt spoke next and commented, "I would like to thank the pool committee, city council, city staff, donors, grant award selection committees, citizens of Guttenberg and the many others who made this beautiful pool happen." 

He went on to say, "Many of you on the pool committee worked on this for more than six years and reviewed 13 or more designs for the pool before selecting this design. Thank you for your tireless efforts, determination and grit to complete the project." 

Mayor Frommelt continued, "Donors range from small to large, each with a vision for the community to improve the quality of life and recreational opportunities in Guttenberg." 

Many businesses and individuals stepped forward with fundraising events to raise money for the project. Mayor Frommelt shared the list: the Bobber's Christmas party, the Speede Shop "Penny at the Pump" program, Moxie's golf outing, the RAGBRAI committee, proceeds from Mike Hefel's Fish Shack fundraiser during RAGBRAI, the Nelson/Clinton Celebration of Life event, Kate Moser family auction, Jonah and the Whales dance, the city auction, Nancy Nuehring's breakfasts and prime rib/shrimp dinners, Knights of Columbus breakfasts, Backwater music event, Eagles Club soup and sandwich suppers, German dinner, the Brown's Family of Dealerships Drive 4 UR School Fundraiser and Bender's root beer float fund raisers. "Your efforts and donations are appreciated" hesaid.

In addition to the many in-kind donations, several grants were procured by the efforts of the Wave of the Future committee. “We are extremely grateful that grants from Aureon Network, Clayton County Foundation for the Future, Wellmark Foundation, CAT Award - Enhance Iowa, Clayton County Auditor’s office and Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission that not only benefit our community but also our region with their generous grant awards totaling over $627,000,” said Frommelt. 

The community as a whole was able to raise $1,058,000 in pledges and fundraisers. The combination of these pledges and the grant money covered more than 42 percent of the project cost. 

Mayor Frommelt expressed thanks to the citizens of Guttenberg. “The residents of Guttenberg deserve a major thank you for approving a $2.8 million bond issue to finance the remaining amount needed for the $4 million project,” he said. 

To date, it appears the pool project should come in at or under the estimated amount.

Thanks were expressed to City Manager Denise Schneider and the city staff. The tax levy forecast of an additional $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value was slashed to only $.79 per thousand dollars assessed value for the next year. 

Jade Staebler, pool manager, reported to the Mayor, “We have had a very busy year so far with the new ‘digs’ with an overwhelming number of swimmers as compared to last year. Learning the procedures and the pool features has been challenging and exhausting with the excited swimming crowds. With the splash pads, zero entrance end of the pool, fabulous water slide, six swim lanes and the concession area, the features are plentiful for all.” 

The Mayor closed the program by expressing his gratitude, “In summary, It has been exhausting, exhilarating, and now rewarding for the many individuals involved in the planning and implementation process and the financial generosity of individuals, businesses and grant award committees. Thank you to all of you for making Guttenberg a better place!”

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