Pond repairs underway at Flandrau State Park

Staff photo by Fritz Busch The Flandrau State Park sand-bottom swimming pond will remain closed this year due to repair and maintenance work being done and other issues. Park manager Gary Teipel said he’s hopeful the pond will open for use next year.

NEW ULM — Due to a number of issues, the Flandrau State Park sand-bottom swimming pond will remain closed this year.

Park manager Gary Teipel said a number of pond parts in need of repair have been replaced and more work is being done on the pond this summer.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to people but we have to follow Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails recommendations,” said Teipel.

“The pond’s three main circulating pumps had issues. After learning the pond would be closed in 2020, we began the process of replacing the pumps in the pond’s wet well,” Teipel said. “We had funding to replace two 20 horsepower pumps, three variable-frequency drives and a failing alarm driver last September at a total cost of $25,900.”

Teipel said the swimming pond did not open this year due to continuing social distancing concerns this spring.

“We realized some restrictions were later lifted, but it takes months of planning and hiring staff and lifeguards to get the pond operational,” said Teipel. “The way things progressed this year with a state hiring freeze, there was not enough time to do that.”

He said swimming pond plans this summer include replacing the third circulation pump later this month, a $12,500 project.

“We plan to install new cement inlet water caps that cost about $3,000, so water returns to the pond from the filter,” Teipel said. “They’re made by a local company, Artstone. They’ve made drain covers for us before that have help us really well.”

In addition, new skimmer lids, purchased just before the COVID-19 pandemic, will be installed this year.

“We’ll also evaluate underground piping and camera some lines,” said Teipel. “We feel there is some sand accumulation in some pipes, reducing water flow, which we would remove.”

Teipel said lumber has been purchased for staff rebuild and replace two of the three pond lifeguard chairs that were deemed unsafe.

There are other safety improvements.

“We’re working on our sound system to attach speakers and hands-free microphones to lifeguard chairs,” said Teipel. “We want to play taped, safety messages during our hourly 10-minute breaks, telling parents to watch their children, ensure they wear life jackets, pets are kept away from the pool and no “horse play” is allowed.

Meanwhile, park trails and campsites are open.

If the park service window is closed, firewood can be purchased using self-service at the ranger station. Five and 20-pound bags of ice are available at the ranger station.

Park amenities include shaded campsites, an enclosed picnic shelter, scenic overlooks, hiking/cross country skiing and a modern, group center.

Park hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 507-233-1260 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If no one is available, please leave a message. Email flandrau.statepark@state.mn.us

Service window hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, based on staff availability.

For more information, visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00145#homepage

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.


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