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Enjoying the pond

After delay, parents and kids enjoy swimming at Flandrau

Millie Gawrisch, Kallie Gawrisch, Seth Garcia, Brooks Gawrisch, and Peter Garcia (L-R) stand around Owen Gawrisch, who they have buried in the sand at Flandrau Swim Pond.

NEW ULM – After a small delay, Flandrau swim pond’s opening weekend saw plenty of fun in the sun.

Generally the pond opens after Memorial Day, like the wading pools and splash pads across New Ulm. This year the opening was pushed back a week due to a construction project involving the pond.

Flandrau State Park Manager Joanne Svendsen said construction was to the sidewalk in front of the beach house, which had cracks people could trip on and injure themselves.

“We had a vendor working a few weeks pulling up some of the concrete and replacing it with new concrete,” she said.

While Svendsen had hoped the project wouldn’t encroach on opening day, she said that’s how the situation played out.

Gianna Soderberg builds a little cove in the swim pond at Flandrau.

“The DNR has a process for bidding projects out and people respond,” Svendsen said. “Then we go through the business procedures. It happened the project timing coincided with the opening and we had to push it out a week.”

Svendsen said she received several calls about the delay, but once she explained what happened people were understanding of the situation. There were no changes to the pond.

After being pushed back a week, opening weekend went off without a hitch.

“People have been enjoying the pond,” Svendsen said. “We have had beautiful weather. The gnats are a little fierce, as they are everywhere around town. You can’t escape them. The sun has been shining; the water temps have been very nice.”

From now until August 18, the pool will be open Thursday through Sunday from 11-7. Svendsen said they may be closed or have limited hours throughout the summer depending on lifeguard availability.

“We do have to make adjustments occasionally,” she said. “If we are low on lifeguards we’ll try to adjust those hours and make announcements on our website as quickly as we can.”

Flandrau currently has five lifeguards on staff. Svendsen said six or seven would be an ideal number. Without that amount, there are days without enough lifeguards to cover the whole day.

For some, opening weekend was a chance to bring their kids to a place they enjoyed when they were kids. Summer Smith, who is now 41, has come to Flandrau since she was a kid and now brings her kids every summer. She said she cannot remember a time when they have ever postponed an opening before.

Smith said her family was bummed when they found out opening day was delayed, but it was still just as much fun when they got to feel the warm summer sand and cool water.

“I like being outside,” she said. “It’s a fun time, relaxing place to be with the kids. Everybody’s friendly.”

While her kids enjoy swimming and splashing in the water, Smith said she likes to mix water time with some sunbathing.

For more information on the swim pond and closings/limited hours, visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00145#homepage.

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