The town of Silver Lake recently had to close its pool due to a dangerously rough surface, but it's about to reopen thanks to a lot of help.
SILVER LAKE, Minn. — Kids in the small, western Minnesota town of Silver Lake rejoiced on Tuesday as their beloved community pool came one step closer to a re-opening, something they didn't think would be possible just a week ago.
"It's a beautiful day to help," said Brooklyn Posusta. "The whole city wanted to join to get the pool back this year."
Brooklyn and many other kids in town showed up by 7:30 a.m. to get a pool side seat as five neighboring fire departments took turns pumping water in the pool, which abruptly closed less than a week ago, due to a rough surface below the surface.
"It felt like my foot was getting scratched by sandpaper," Brooklyn Posusta said. "Everyone was scraping their feet on the bottom (of the pool) and getting bloody toes."
Brooklyn's uncle Brent Posusta says the issue led to a call to the Minnesota Department of Health, which eventually closed the pool due to health and safety concerns.
"The day that it closed, there were 25 kids that had feet reported that were cut and bleeding in the pool," he said.
Initially, Brent Posusta says city leaders anticipated that they would have to close the pool for the rest of the season as they looked to have the pool professionally resurfaced.
"One quote was $110,000 and the other quote was $180,000," Posusta said.
But after draining the pool late last week, Posusta realized that a temporary solution could help them buy time and save the summer.
Brent Posusta: "The roughness was caused by a mineral buildup on the pool that was just almost like sandpaper."
Kent Erdahl: "And you know a few things about sandpaper."
Posusta: "Yes, I'm a professional flooring contractor of 25 years, and I just looked at a pool surface as just being another type of concrete surface, that we could very likely come up with a game plan."
Erdahl: "So how do you fight a sandpaper bottom pool? With sandpaper?"
Posusta: "Yes, you actually do. The tool for the job ended up being 120 grit, mesh, sandpaper on a drywall sanding block, and many hands made for light work."
He's not kidding. After one call for help on Facebook, he says it didn't take long for the community to show how much grit it has.
"I'm telling you, within 10 minutes of going live (on Facebook), people were walking in from every angle saying, 'What can I do to help?'" Brent Posusta said. "We had more than 20 people sanding, and within two days, every inch of that surface was smooth."
On Monday, the Health Department returned for an inspection and gave the town the go-ahead to re-open.
That's when another group of volunteers rushed in.
Silver Lake Fire Chief Dale Kosek helped coordinate a pool filling parade of fire trucks to speed up the reopening.
"We are purchasing water from the city of Hutchinson, eight miles down the road," Kosek said. "Silver Lake doesn't have an iron removal plant, so our water has a lot of iron in it, usually it takes us a good two weeks or three weeks to get everything filtered out and cleaned up."
But thanks to the water from Hutch, and assistance from five neighboring departments, the pool will now be back open by Friday at the latest.
"I put out the call and everybody said, 'We'll be there,'" Kosek said. "It's just the way we do things out here. You know, I've got grandkids who are taking swimming lessons, so I didn't want to see it close for another year either."
Now that the pool is filled, Brooklyn Posusta and her friends are having trouble containing their excitement for later this week.
"Since it's going to be open pretty soon, we're going to have way more than fun," she said. "Way more than fun."
Despite everything that they have pulled off in the last week, Brent Posusta says the sanding work is just a temporary solution. He says the pool will still need a new surface in the very near future.
The community still has a lot of fundraising to do make it happen. If you'd like to help, click here for more information.
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