Riptide, city reach agreement on indoor pool use

·3 min read

Apr. 27—MITCHELL — The Dakota Riptide swim club has reached a deal with the city of Mitchell to continue using the Mitchell Indoor Aquatic Center for its practices and meets.

The agreement is a short-term one, only covering the team through the end of the 2023 summer competition season. Representatives of the Riptide will come back to the Mitchell Park and Recreation Board in August and negotiate a contract for the indoor pool for the remainder of 2023 and will look to finalize a contract for 2024 at the end of the calendar year.

Under the new agreement, the Riptide will now pay $50 per day for three hours of pool use for three days a week during March, April and May. For June and July, the Riptide will pay $100 per day for three hours of use for five days a week to use the indoor aquatic center. The agreements allow the Riptide to use three lanes for practice at the pool. Like the previous contract, the outdoor competition pool will be available to the club at a rental rate of $10 per hour during the months it is open.

The agreement was approved by the Mitchell Park and Recreation Board in March but because the indoor pool was not available to use at the Riptide wouldn't have to make any agreement-specific payment until the pool reopened. Previously, the indoor contract was on a per-lane basis of $10 per hour, part of the roughly $40,000 in annual rental fees the Riptide traditionally has paid to the city.

"Once that (summer) season ends, we will come back in August and will re-negotiate for the remainder of 2023," Recreation Supervisor Kevin DeVries told the park board in March when the agreement was approved. "We don't know what that looks like right now for a number of reasons. We will sit down with them and figure out how many kids they'll have for the upcoming season and for 2024."

In September 2022, leaders from the Dakota Riptide came to the Park and Recreation Board and asked for a reduction or suspension of the practice fees to use the pool or to have its $200,000 annual pledge for the construction of the building halted because the organization was low on funds.

The Riptide was not able to use the pool for the entirety of the 2022-23 winter swim season due to repairs being done on the pool's plaster surface, which stretched on for nine months. Not having the pool available hurt the Riptide's roster, with swimmers leaving the club or joining other teams to practice or compete. The remaining Riptide members' only option for practice in the winter was a small 25-yard indoor pool in Huron.

To this point, the park board hasn't altered the $200,000 building commitment for 2023, which would be the last of five payments as part of a $1 million pledge from the Mitchell Aquatic Club that was made when the $8 million facility was initially constructed.