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Baraboo’s Parks Commission will pay a consulting firm to help the city decide whether to repair or replace its aging outdoor pool.

On Monday the commission voted unanimously to move forward with a study that would identify options for helping the pool meet community needs. At a future meeting the parks board will consider four bids ranging from nearly $11,000 to more than $19,000.

Time is of the essence, because if parks leaders decide the pool should be replaced, they’ll have to get that project slotted into a queue of big-ticket city expenses that’s already full for the next few years.

Meanwhile, decisions on maintenance work may depend on whether the pool is set for replacement. On Monday, the commission decided against replacing a rope fence between the wading pool and lap pool with a chain-link fence at a cost of $8,000, opting instead to put that money toward the study.

“It helps you start to move forward,” Carter Arndt of MSA Professional Services said of the project for which his company submitted the low bid. “This could inform that decision making.”

The Campbell Park pool is 80 years old. The city pays $20,000 to $30,000 each year to repair plumbing pipes and pumps. Parks Director Mike Hardy has said complaints about the condition of the pool and its locker rooms are increasing.

Commissioners said Monday they’re leaning toward replacement, but want to know all their options — and the price tags on them.

“You’re really getting a clear picture of what’s in store,” Arndt said.

Hardy said developing a plan with a reliable budget estimate would help parks leaders convince the Common Council to add a new or improved pool to its slate of major projects. Plus, private support will be needed, and boosters like Baraboo Riptide will need a fundraising target.

Bids submitted for a preliminary pool study came from MSA of Baraboo ($10,900); Ramaker & Associates of Sauk City ($15,000); Ayers Associates of Madison ($18,393); and ADCI of Lake Delton ($19,400).

Parks Commission recommendations on the pool’s future will go to the Common Council for approval. Hardy said community feedback will be instrumental in ensuring the pool meets current and anticipated programming needs.

Raine Gardner of MSA said the facility plays an important role in encouraging intergenerational recreation. “It’s been a good park and a good facility for the community,” she told the commission.

Follow Ben Bromley on Twitter @ben_bromley or call him at 745-3507.

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