GLEN ELLYN – A dog paddle of a step toward a new indoor aquatic center was taken by the Glen Ellyn Park District Board of Commissioners on Tuesday after it unanimously voted to accept a report on the project's potential.
During the last several months, consultant Isaac Sports Group assessed the feasibility of creating a new complex attached to the north side of the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center. Its final conclusions were presented to the board March 18 and to the public March 27.
Group President Stu Isaac was again in attendance Tuesday to discuss a number of possible plans as well as some additional information, options and recommendations.
Originally, Isaac presented three pool options, each featuring an activities pool and a smaller warm fitness pool. Choices ranged from a modest 22,2551-square-foot, single-story facility to a 53,472-square-foot, two-story addition that included a number of stands, concession area, rock wall and moveable bulkhead to allow for space flexibility.
On Tuesday, Isaac also presented a fourth option, a hybrid between the larger overall pool size and the seating for as many as 500 spectators from the second. By cutting back, the new project would save upwards of $2 million on the $16.1 to $17.4 million cost and still keep much of the programming and event-hosting capabilities.
All proposed plans could be profitable with proper programming, Isaac said, with the largest option topping out at as much as $4.5 million a year in revenue.
All commissioners present at the meeting expressed interest in the plan as a major revenue-driver for not only the district, but the entire village.
"I'm still completely up in the air on which of the three options makes the most sense, but I see huge benefit to the bigger options in the sense that they do bring people into Glen Ellyn," board Vice President Gary Mayo said.
The effort was spurred on by the Glen Ellyn Aquatics Initiative, a group of residents who raised more than $20,000 in donations to fund the study in July 2013. Mayo said the public support that came out behind the project was key in his support of the issue.
However, commissioners also expressed concern about finding the start-up costs for the project. The least expensive option would cost at least $7.5 million in the latest estimates.
Commissioner Kathy Cornell said she "can't imagine" financing the project through anything other than a referendum for part or all of the costs and stressed any vote taken needs to be done during a high-turnout election year.
Board President Jay Kinzler said despite the strong support from some members of the community, it was hard to tell how many would actually help foot the bill privately or through tax money.
"What I want to make sure is that everybody has a chance to see it, everybody's going to vote [...] so it's going to be a fair fight," he said.
The board's vote did not guarantee action; instead, the report will serve as a guideline for future discussion about major projects. The board anticipates talking about the subject and other funding priorities in a strategy session in May.
For previous coverage on the study's findings, visit shawurl.com/12xa.
Option 1• 22,551 square feet• Estimated costs between $7.5 and $8.2 million
Option 2• 36,459 square feet• Estimated costs between $11.9 and $12.9 million
Option 3• 54,152 square feet• Estimated costs between $16.7 and $18 million
Option 3A• 46,218 square feet• Estimated costs between $14.6 and $15.8 million