Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
KEOTA — The Keota City Council voted unanimously to approve a bid on a new municipal aquatic center at its Aug. 1 meeting. The vote sets plans in motion for an over $2 million project, with contractors expected to break ground in early September according to city officials.
City Council member Keith Conrad — who made the motion for approval — said the project was exciting for residents, who have gone without a pool since the old one closed in 2018 for health and safety reasons.
“There’s a lot of excitement, it’s something we used to have and then we lost,” he said. “It’s good for the city because it gives us amenities that we haven’t had … it keeps us competitive, it gives people a reason to settle back in our community.”
Features of the facility include a 3,700 square foot pool with a zero-entry, plus a new bath house and an 800 square foot splash pad. While the city has agreed to pay for utility hookups and operate the pool once it opens, it is not expected to raise municipal taxes.
While the Keota Pool Advocates organization has raised most of the necessary money, organizers said they had $830,000 to go before they could completely cover the $2,387,975 project. The group’s 501(c)(3) organization, called the Keota Pool and Aquatic Foundation, plans to raise the rest of the money.
“Once all the existing funds have been utilized for the pool’s construction, the 501(c)(3) will be taking out a loan to finish constructing the pool,” said Nick Beinhart, a spokesperson for the Keota Pool Advocates as well as the foundation. “The 501(c)(3) and Keota Pool Advocates will continue fundraising and applying for grants as long as it takes to extinguish the debt.”
Beinhart said the groups would need continued community support to make that happen. The foundation already has matching funds lined up for the next $150,000 raised.
“We still have a long road ahead to finish funding this project,” he said. “Your generous donations have gotten us where we are today, and they will help take us into tomorrow … If you haven’t donated yet or are considering donating, now is a great time to help us utilize the matching funds.”
Beinhart said the project represented progress in the city on the border of Washington and Keokuk counties.
“Keota is not the same town it was 10 years ago,” he said. “Investment in our town is happening, and building this pool is just a steppingstone to the next great project that can help move our town further ahead in the future … We feel very strongly that the new Aquatic Center will bring great value to our community and provide education and recreation for our families and children for years to come.”