The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is opening North America’s first public natural swimming pool in North Minneapolis July 24.
The nearly $7 million Webber Natural Swimming Pool uses plants and filters instead of chemicals to clean the water, which gives the water a natural green tone. The pool, which has been in the works since 2013, is unique in North America where there are only a handful of private natural swimming pools, though the model is more popular in Europe.
“We’re really excited to have it opening,” said Superintendent Jayne Miller in a statement. “It’s innovative. It’s part of what keeps our Parks System the number one park system in the United States. It’s better for the environment and for users because we’re not using any chemicals.”
At nearly triple the size of the previous pool, the new natural system is split into a shallow upper pool and a larger lower pool, which hold a combined 500,000 gallons and have a capacity of 500 swimmers. A nearby 16,250-square-foot regeneration basin containing approximately 7,000 aquatic plants keeps the water clean with the help of daily vacuuming. A set of specialized robotic vacuums will take over the job from park staff in early September.
The park’s new additions won’t just host summer activities. The new pool house will serve as a warming house and the frozen pool will host ice skating for guests during winter months.
Webber Park’s new pool is located at 4300 Webber Parkway and is open 1-7 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend, including Monday, Sept. 7.
“It’s just an absolutely world-class facility right here in North Minneapolis. And admission is free,” Commissioner Jon Olson said. “We’re opening a pool that would traditionally be a paid facility. This pool is going to be free and we’re eliminating barriers so folks can come, swim and recreate.”
In addition to open swimming, the pool will also have priced programs beginning July 31, including lap swimming ($3 per day, 12-1 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) and swimming lessons (12-12:40 p.m., Friday-Saturday. Eight lessons, four weeks from July 31-Aug. 21, $50 resident, $60 non-resident).
The board will host a grand opening for the pool in summer 2016.