DIXON – Supporters of renovating Veterans Memorial Pool will seek an engineering report from Farnsworth Group of Peoria.
The report, which will cost $11,000, will give an overview of renovations for the historic pool and include plans for a water park on the property, said Pool Partners organizers Marilyn Trulock and Colleen Brechon.
A dozen people attending Wednesday’s meeting at the Public Health and Safety Building reached a consensus to move forward with the plan.
The Pool Partners currently have about $21,000 in their Midland Bank account.
With the report, Farnsworth architects would give public presentations in the city, possibly presenting one for the City Council, which was suggested at the meeting.
Organizers are looking at adding a water park to renovation plans, after talks with the Morton Park District, because the water park there operates in the black.
Operations in Morton cost $171,000 last year, but the facility brought in $194,000.
The Morton waterpark has two 25-foot water slides, diving boards, eight swimming lanes and a zero-depth wading pool with a playground for younger visitors.
Although it wasn’t an official estimate, Brechon said renovations plus a water park could cost between $3 million and $7 million.
The majority of people in attendance believe the pool will have to be transferred from the park district to the city of Dixon before residents get behind the renovation.
The park board has said in the past it would do so if the city requested it.
The transfer also would be necessary if the Pool Partners decide to seek funding through sales taxes.
At this point, four options were presented; one of them is to do nothing.
Another is to have the park district maintain ownership of the pool and seek a referendum increasing property taxes, which they determined was unlikely to pass, since a referendum has failed before.
A third option involves the city taking ownership of the pool and determining whether sales taxes could fund it.
For the third option to work, the pool would have to be classified as a city infrastructure, Brechon said. Some communities have managed to make it work, but it would be a challenge, she said.
The final option is to establish a corporation or foundation to maintain the pool with the thinking that more people are likely to donate if it were tax-deductible.
Those in attendance Wednesday were concerned the effort to reopen the pool had stalled to the point where some action was needed.
Additionally, Pool Partners will look into gaining distinction on the National Historic Registry for the pool. It is currently listed on Landmarks Illinois’ 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list.
Historic distinction could open up grant possibilities, Brechon said.
Additionally, the city of Dixon is taking suggestions for how to spend the $40 million from an out-of-court agreement and sale of former Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s assets. Anyone who wants the pool to be renovated was asked to send a suggestion.