Community Park and Swimming Pool

The Community Park and Swimming Pool started in 1955 when a group of interested citizens set out to raise funds.  The committee in charge included Willmar Haerter, Duna Frigaard, Mrs. H.W. Hildre, Roy L. Solberg, Oscar Tang, Ed Reiten and Al Boe.  The city set aside Block 20 as a park.

By mid summer of 1955 sufficient funds had been collected and pledged to assure the success of the project.  Construction was begun and by the fall of 1955 all had been completed except the bathhouse.  In the spring of 1956 the bathhouse was completed and by mid-July of 1956 the 40 x 120 foot pool was opened for business.

The total cost of the pool came to $19,500.00 and it was constructed almost entirely by volunteer labor.  When the pool was completed all bills were paid in full with all cash donations coming from individuals, clubs and various organizations in the community.

In 1956 many old willow trees were removed to make room for new trees.  A cookhouse was added along with many pieces of playground equipment.

The Community Park and pool operated without any tax income.  They operated from the income from the pool and donations from the municipal liquor store that varied from $1000.00 to $1500.00 per year.

In 1970 a city park board was organized and they took over the operation of the pool.

The first elected members of the newly formed Cooperstown Park Board were Ing Berdal, Lester Winning, Jr., Bonnie Irwin, Edith Skarp, and Ted Sonderby.  The Cooperstown Park Board began levying four mills to help support its operations.

Research was started in 1972 on the feasibility of building a new swimming pool.  Plans were drawn for an I-shaped pool, 75'x 43'with a 30'x 32'diving bay.  In 1973 a 50 percent matching grant from the North Dakota Board of Outdoor Recreation was obtained in the amount of $72,000.00.  A community effort was launched on a fund drive, which brought in an additional $72,000.00.  The new pool was constructed during the summer of 1974 on a new site east of the high school.  The old pool was demolished.  In 1975 donated funds were obtained to construct a camper hookup and restroom facility near the site of the old pool.  The mill levy was increased by vote to eight mills in 1977 to help pay escalating operating costs.

It soon became apparent that the new pool had structural defects and a major repair project would be necessary.  It took two attempts to obtain a "yes" vote on a $30,000.00 bond issue to repair the new pool.  The pool remained closed for the summer of 1978 and the necessary repairs were made.  Legal action was taken against both the contractor and the engineer.   The contractor's bonding company has settled their part of the suit for $17,000.00.  The suit against the engineer is still pending.

The Cooperstown Park Board also takes an active part in a summer baseball program for youngsters.

In addition to the tax levy and user fees the Park Board still relies on private donations to help meet the operating budget.

The current members on the Park Board are: Dale Severson, Duane Lura, Pat Knight, Jo Conant, and Ron Hensler.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 227

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