One group's fight to save Spellerberg Park from new indoor pool - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

One group's fight to save Spellerberg Park from new indoor pool

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One of the city's oldest outdoor pools sits right in the middle of a popular Sioux Falls park, Spellerberg Park, between 22nd and 26th Street and Western Avenue.

The city is moving forward with plans to replace that pool with a new indoor aquatic center in the heart of the park. Many aren't happy about it. After careful review, last month, the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Board determined the park is a feasible place to build.

Tuesday afternoon, leaders of a new group Citizens Saving Spellerberg announced their plans for a petition drive in an effort to keep that from happening. The 20-acre park is surrounded by homes and dozens of homeowners say Spellerberg is too small for an indoor pool center. They want to make it clear they're not against a new facility, but because of building size, safety and traffic, they don't want to see it in Spellerberg.

"A person can have a very deep-seeded love for an area. It hurts to see that neighborhood feeling destroyed," Judy Lampert said.

Judy Lampert and her family have lived near the park since the 1940s. Now, she uses it to play with her great-grandchildren.

"The neighborhood has undergone many changes. We realize it will undergo many more but the proposed indoor pool would not be a good change for the neighborhood," Lampert said.

Spellerberg's outdoor pool was built in 1969. Today, with tennis courts, volleyball courts and more, it's considered a multi-use park. The building plans call for an indoor Olympic-size pool, a leisure pool, locker rooms, party rooms and more parking. People who support the plans say a year-round place to swim would be a good addition to this part of town.

Neighbors of Spellerberg, who oppose, say it will lead to more chaos, traffic and safety hazards making it less of a real park.

"I think the children, even if it is just a couple of months every year, deserve to walk, ride their bikes to the outdoor pool," Marilyn Anderson said.

"It would take away from the neighborhood feel of the park and the area," Lampert said.

The Citizens Saving Spellerberg will need to collect at least 5,500 signatures by March 27, 2013 to be part of the spring Sioux Falls School Board elections.

City officials say these plans have been a long time coming and while the cost is undetermined, they would like to start construction in 2014 for a grand-opening in 2015.

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