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Pool backers face ‘long, hard road’

Loud applause greets meeting organizer

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Nancy Mercer misses Memorial Pool.

The Dixon resident went from a “little kid swimming there” to serving as a lifeguard. She later became its manager. 

“It has my blood, sweat and tears,” she said at a public meeting Tuesday. “One of the things I was proud of was that it was a safe place for kids.”

Mercer was among more than 70 people, including Mayor Jim Burke, who attended a meeting at City Hall to show their support for renovating the pool, which closed a decade ago.

The Dixon Park District owns the pool, but pool supporters hope the district will transfer it to the city.

Resident Marilyn Trulock organized the meeting to gauge support for renovation. She spoke about its history and detailed the efforts to reopen it over the past 10 years.

“We hope the city will want the pool,” she said. “Then we’ll get grants.”

The audience loudly applauded.

The pool was closed because of leaks and problems with the equipment that maintain chlorine levels. Estimates to renovate it range from $1.5 million to $3 million.

Trulock said she didn’t want the pool effort to interfere with the campaign to pass a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase to raise funds for a schools’ activities and sports complex. The referendum is Nov. 6.

Some in the audience, however, weren’t quite so accommodating.

“I don’t care whether this interrupts the sports complex,” one woman said.

Trulock passed out petitions to circulate around town to show support for renovation of the pool. Those attending agreed to turn them in by Dec. 1.

Besides grants, the pool’s supporters also hope to get a chunk of the money that the city expects to get from the case against Rita Crundwell, the former city comptroller accused of misappropriating more than $53 million in city funds over two decades.

The city hasn’t received any of the money yet, but the pool supporters aren’t the only ones hoping to get some of it.

In 2007, voters rejected an advisory ballot measure designed to gauge the public’s interest in raising property taxes to repair and maintain the pool, which is on Dixon’s southwest side.

Mercer warned that getting a renovated pool would take awhile.

“This is something that won’t be done by this summer or next,” she said. “This enthusiasm has to stay. It will be a long, hard road. Dixon has had its ups and downs, but it’s a community that comes together.”

For more information on the pool effort, call Trulock at 815-288-2000.

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