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Glen Ellyn Park District considering possible indoor pool referendum

Published: Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 6:21 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – A referendum that would provide the park district with funds to build an indoor pool will be the focus of public discussion at a meeting Tuesday.

Though the specific amount is unknown, board documents show an indoor pool would cost $11.9 million to $12.9 million.

The referendum would be financed by taking over an existing tax levy that is set to expire, said Glen Ellyn Park District Executive Director Dave Harris. If the referendum is approved, taxes will remain the same. If it is defeated, they will decrease.

Harris illustrated the situation by offering the relevant numbers for the owner of a $400,000 house. Such a homeowner pays about $583 in property taxes now. If the referendum passed, that tax rate would stay the same. If not, it would decrease about $146.

It's too early to say for sure, but Harris said the district Board of Commissioners would look at the life of the bond being 12 to 14 years.

Depending on public reaction, the board could place a referendum on the November ballot to determine the fate of the indoor pool.

The district was approached by the Glen Ellyn Aquatics Initiative a little more than a year ago. 

Discussions of an indoor swimming pool had been "on and off conversation for years," Harris said.

The group raised $25,000 for a feasibility study into the costs associated with building and maintaining a pool.

At the same time, the board was looking at potential improvements at Lake Ellyn and Ackerman Sports & Fitness Center.

"At the end of that strategic planning session, the park board decided to look into how to potentially implement some of those," Harris said.

The district is in a "solid financial position" to fund the improvements at Lake Ellyn and Ackerman, he said, but the pool would require more money.

"It's not something we could do on our own without a referendum," said board President Gary Mayo.

Of the four options provided to the board, option 2 is the one the board would look into funding.

The entire building would be 36,459 square feet, with a seating area for competitions, offices, party rooms and deck space.

It would feature an eight-lane pool, measuring 121 feet long by 25 yards wide. Depth would range from 4.5 feet to 13 feet. The pool could be used for swimming laps, competitions or training. A separate pool, which would be 30 feet by 60 feet, would be a warm water pool used for swimming lessons or therapy.

"We see it as truly a facility that could serve almost everybody in the community," Harris said.

The pool building would be added to the back of Ackerman and would take up 4 to 5 acres of land. The district would also have to increase the parking capacity at the facility.

After one year, the pool would lose $29,000. By the second year, it would be making money and have a surplus of $36,000. That number is expected to double in the third year.

Option 1 would be the cheapest, at just above $7.5 million, but would continue to have a net deficit during its first five years of operation. Option 3 would be more expensive, but would make more money over the long-term. The feasibility study suggests that after five years, option 3 would have a surplus of $162,546.

"My thought is, it'd be a wonderful asset for the community, but it's a lot of money," Mayo said.

The best option at this point is to leave it in the hands of the voters, he said. Harris agreed.

"They [the board] would like this to be put forward to the community to decide, and they'd like to do it at a point that encourages the most participation," Harris said.

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If you go

What: Indoor pool referendum discussion at the Glen Ellyn Park District Board of Commissioners meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Spring Avenue Recreation Center, 185 Spring Ave.

Information: Members of the public will be given the opportunity to voice their support or concerns to the board.

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