City to devote pool money to parks


Kaiser Pool in Wausau, during the height of summer

Wausau could use the money saved by not opening its pools this summer to instead pay for new park upgrades.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee Monday voted to recommend allocating the funds — about 110k — to renovating two of the city’s parks, preferably one on the west and one on the east side of the city.

The city voted last month to keep its three pools closed for the summer following several meetings of debate and strong public opinion on both sides of the issue. Many felt it would be unsafe and thought the city should keep them closed, while others thought it was one of the safer activities kids could enjoy in the summer since it is outside, the parks department had a safety plan and the chlorine would help kill the coronavirus. The county’s health department didn’t recommend opening the pools.

The city has been working on replacing its playgrounds with new, updated playground equipment and designs. Four parks — Riverside, 3M, River Highlands and Westview Terrace — have yet to be upgraded. Riverside and 3M were next on the list, and up for consideration in 2021.

Other possibilities included upgrading the city’s skate park, replacing the parking lot at Sylvan Hill, replacing several of the city’s tennis courts and replacing the Memorial Park seawall. 

But putting the money toward parks made the most sense, says committee member Tom Neal. “It seemed to be when the possibility of using this money came around, I thought top of the list had to be something kid-oriented, Neal says.

The city’s finance and city council will still need to approve the measure.

Clarification: This story was updated to make clear that the finance and city council must still approve the measure.