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By Caroline Downs
Kenmare kids have been swimming in the same location for nearly 60 years now.
The current pool opened 33 years ago on June 26, 1980. The pool previously located on the same site was dedicated in June 1954.
If a new Kenmare pool project is approved, it would be the third facility constructed on the north end of Central Avenue.
Ground was broken for the current pool in July 1979, following demolition that started in May that year. When Don Harris and Ron Harris started tearing down the old facility, they discovered a Proclamation left with the corner stone of the old bath house that read:
On this day of June 5, 1954 this corner was layed in the worst brick laying weather that North Dakota has ever known.
The building was built by:
Grenvik & Sons (General Contractors)
Harold Grenvik Sr.
One odd one:
M. Ringen & Co.
Helpers for the plumbers:
Corner Stone Carrier:
We the builders of this building do hereby proclaim this building built.
To the person finding this, we were the best there ever was.
Current pool cost $277,000
According to the July 4, 1979 issue of The Kenmare News, the Kenmare City Council awarded the bid to Associated Pool Builders of Bismarck.
The pool, designed in an “L” shape, included the south end at 32’ x 82’2”, while the north end was 76’ x 42’, with additional deck space on all sides. The 20’ x 30’ wading pool was separated by a fence, and the bath house was designed at 27’ x 58’.
Construction was suspended through the fall and winter, but started again in May 1980. The target opening date of June 1st was postponed twice until June 26th.
The August 13th issue of The Kenmare News reported that 150 season memberships had been sold and 170 people had participated in swimming lessons through the summer.
The open house and dedication for the new pool took place August 24th. The event included a youth swim meet held, lunch served and free swimming during the evening.
The final project cost came in at $277,000, according to The Kenmare News, with $125,000 received as a matching fund grant from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.
Members of the local committee for the swimming pool construction project were Jim Grueneich, general chairman; Glen Froseth, co-chairman; Jim Jorgenson, treasurer; and Allan Essler, John Odland and Paul Carlson.
Hagemeister, Ebeling and Lehn of Worthington, MN, served as consulting engineers on the project.
Sub-contractors included Farmers Union Lumber, Don Nore Construction, Gravesen Electric, Smitty’s Plumbing and Heating, Sandberg Redi Mix, Harris Graveling, and Ron Harris Construction, all of Kenmare; Mike Lucy Construction of Powers Lake; and R&P Builders of Bowbells.
James Schmit, D&A Excavating, Helmers Propane, Montana-Dakota Utilities, George Frank and Russell Anderson provided local equipment, materials and labor.
The Kenmare Lions Club conducted the fund-raising drive among community residents and sponsored the open house and dedication activities, led by Chuck Slaven, Rollie Krieger, Arlyn Norris and Allan Essler.
According to The Kenmare News, the Lions Club had spearheaded the new swimming pool project for several years prior to its completion.