City Approves More Funds for Outdoor Aquatic Center

City of Marshfield

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The city’s contribution to the Marshfield Outdoor Aquatic Center will increase by an additional $500,000 to cover soft costs for the project.

Common Council voted 8-2 to cover those soft costs, which include architectural and engineering fees, donor signage, community foundation fees, and fundraising expenses. The new pool budget was originally $6 million, with half covered by private dollars and the rest contributed by the city through a challenge grant.

Clarification was needed from the Council whether the $6 million was meant to cover both construction and soft costs, or just construction costs.

“When we go out to bid, we really would like to know if it’s 6, or 6.5 [million],” said Justin Casperson, Parks and Recreation director. “We’ve used the number 6, but there’s been some questions by both Ayres and Boson — is it really 6? Or is it 6.5? Because our estimates are at 6.5.”

Alderman Tom Witzel was in favor of the Council contributing an additional half million toward the pool. “My inclination would be to cover soft costs separately, partly because of the fact that there’s going to be aspects of that aquatic center that are going to be beneficial to the park as a whole, and I think that we’re already scaling some things back to hit the $6 [million] mark,” he said. “I’d hate to see additional scaling back.”

Casperson said aspects of the project were scaled back in various ways, including reconfiguring the parking lot and reducing landscaping.

“What I’m questioning is how we can publish a budget and have a budget hearing — which you know, nobody showed up — that’s based on us committing $3 million and then open this up to committing more?” said Alderman Steve Mac Swain. “I don’t care whether you classify the costs as hard, soft, or slightly squishy, we’ve done $3 million.”

City Administrator Steve Barg said the costs could be spread over 2020 and 2021. Final payment to the contractor would not be until 2021.

Alderman Adam Fischer questioned why the soft costs weren’t included in the budget to begin with.

Alderman Witzel said he wasn’t surprised by the cost increase since it’s been several years since the 2016 pool study.

“I understand the argument of, ‘why weren’t these things thought through?’” said Alderman Witzel. “But I think the truth of the matter is…when push comes to shove we’re probably going to end up spending a little bit more just to make sure this is covered, and again as was mentioned by my colleagues, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

“We need to move forward with this pool — we absolutely have to do this,” said Alderman Chris Jockheck. “I would encourage those on the fence to pass this so we can move forward.”

After further discussion, the Council approved covering the soft costs separately with Aldermen Mac Swain and Fischer voting no.

Private donations pledged for the pool have reached the $750,000 mark, which Casperson said was considered fast-paced for fundraising.

“We have a number of large donors out there that are interested. Sometimes it takes them longer to move off of square one, but we’re working with them and hopefully they step forward.”

Construction for the outdoor facility on the current Hefko Pool site will begin next summer.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Marshfield Outdoor Aquatic Center