Pool numbers up

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

The opening weeks at the newly rebuilt Iola Municipal Pool have been busy ones, Iola commissioners were told Tuesday.
Between opening day May 25 and June 12, an average of 362 visitors used the pool each day, or a total paid attendance of 5,793 visitors.
The figures do not count attendance on June 3, a free day, or two days the pool did not open because of inclement weather.
The pool is significantly busier now than when it averaged 228 daily visits in the early summer of 2007, before the old pool was destroyed in that year’s flood.
Equally important, City Administrator Judy Brigham said complaints about the new pool have been markedly absent.
“I’ve asked as many people as I can about how they like the pool, and they’ve all been positive,” she said.
Commissioners wondered if the city is spending as much or more on treatment chemicals and staffing as in years past?
“We’ll know a lot more after the end of the month,” Brigham replied. “We’ve had some expenses for last month combined with this month.”
It does appear that payroll expenses are higher than in 2007, Brigham said.

SUSAN RAINES, executive director of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, approached commissioners about an increase in the city’s financial support of the center. The city gives the Bowlus an annual subsidy of $25,000. Raines wondered if the city could give the annual equivalent of 1 mill, or about $33,000.
Commissioners were receptive to the idea, but will not act on her request until they approve the city’s 2010 budget later this summer.

NOW THAT the city no longer has an animal control officer, police offers have been tasked with dealing with stray animals, while street and alley employees deal with roadkill carcasses.
Brigham said that Jeff Heinrich, a local exterminator, is in the process of obtaining a furbearers license, necessary to deal with such nuisances as live skunks. When that is acquired, residents who call the city will be referred to Heinrich.
Still, Mayor Bill Maness wondered whether police officers needed additional training to better identify whether animals have been mistreated or neglected. Under the current process, animals suspected of being mistreated are taken to Iola Animal Clinic for a determination.
“I wonder if there isn’t a way for more immediate relief,” Maness said.
Brigham said she would visit with Iola Police Chief Jared Warner about the issue.

THE IOLA Municipal Band will add an Aug. 28 performance to its 2009 schedule, band director Julie Tidd said, providing band members are available for the concert.
The free show will coincide with a major concert hosted by the Southeast Kansas Christian Artists Series that weekend, Tidd explained.
She asked the city’s blessing for the added show. Commissioners were unanimous in their support.
The performance does not affect the city’s contract with the municipal band, Tidd said.

A PARCEL of land owned by the city at the southeast corner of Montana Road and South State Street has been sold to Iolans John and Dimity Lowell.
The Lowells, owners of Lowell and Son Construction, provided the higher of two bids for the property, $888.
They hope to eventually build an office for the construction company.
Assistant City Administrator Corey Schinstock previously told commissioners that the city had no use for the land.

MIKE FORD, community resource officer with the Iola Police Department and one of the helpers with the upcoming Charley Melvin Run For Your Life Fun Run, received permission for the city to keep Highland Cemetery unlocked for the early morning run.
The fun run begins shortly after midnight on July 4. The 3.1-mile route will follow Cottonwood Street, through the cemetery and south along Jefferson Avenue.
Ford said he will relock the cemetery gates after the runners pass through the area.