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Many views on Dixon's old pool

Backers don’t want increase in property tax

Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 11:37 a.m. CDT
(SVM file photo)
Veterans Memorial Pool in Dixon has been subject to vandals and decay in the more than dozen years since it has been open. Some want an entirely new pool. Others say the community should renovate the existing one, which is on the city’s poorer west side.

DIXON – Retired teacher Marilyn Trulock hears many views on the proposal to renovate the old Veterans Memorial Pool, especially how people would vote in a referendum to help pay for it.

Some want an entirely new pool. Others say the community should renovate the existing one, which is on the city’s poorer west side.

Some like that Ronald Reagan dedicated it in 1950. But others find that history distasteful.

One argument, though, really makes Trulock mad: Those who say they won’t vote for a referendum for a pool on the west side.

“People on the west end deserve it just as much as anywhere else,” Trulock said during a meeting Wednesday night. “We’re one town.”

Trulock, who is leading the pro-pool effort, spoke to 15 people gathered in a conference room at the city’s police and fire station.

More than a dozen years ago, the state shut down the pool because the Dixon Park District couldn’t maintain the proper water purity. Estimates to renovate the pool have ranged from $1.5 million to $3 million.

In 2007, voters said no by a margin of 931 to 644 on an advisory ballot measure designed to gauge the public’s interest in raising property taxes to repair and maintain the pool. 

Park board members have said they are willing to put the issue back on the ballot, but don’t want to undermine efforts by Trulock and others pushing for a renovation. The group calls itself Pool Partners.

The park board agreed that it would give the pool to the city of Dixon if that avenue works better.

At the meeting, Dixon Commissioner Colleen Brechon also spoke in favor of the pool.

“I’m not going to step away from it,” she said. “There are legal issues at this stage.”

The park district, Brechon said, doesn’t have the money to run the pool, which is why the ownership would likely have to change.

Trulock and Brechon said they didn’t want to raise property taxes to pay for it. 

After the meeting, Brechon said group members would rather seek a sales tax increase or some type of bond referendum. They said they are speaking with experts in finance.

“We haven’t come up with a clear picture. I wish we would, but it’ll take time,” Brechon told the audience.

Trulock said no one should expect that the pool will make money.

“I hope we can break even. We had something bad happen in our community,” referring to the Rita Crundwell scandal. “Now, we’re trying to do something good.”

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