Ward 6 Alderman Aaron Troglia

Aaron Troglia

DANVILLE — A straw poll at Tuesday night’s Danville City Council meeting showed a majority of aldermen prefer to refurbish the Garfield Park Swimming Pool instead of rebuild it new.

It’s an estimated cost difference of about $3.8 million for refurbishment to $11 million for a new pool.

The city council met in person and had another discussion about the pool and aldermen preferences.

Ward 6 Alderman Aaron Troglia also announced this was likely his last meeting due to his family moving from Ward 6 to Ward 7.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. will have to appoint a new alderman. Troglia was elected in 2019 and his term runs through 2023.

Troglia was one of eight aldermen who said he favored refurbishment of the pool to be like new with a new liner. The others favoring refurbishment are: Darren York, Eve Ludwig saying she needs more information still, Sharon Pickering, Rick Strebing, Mike Puhr, James Poshard and Carolyn Wands.

“I care about the children and the families,” Wands said, but she’s also looking at the price and she said she cares about the taxpayers too.

Aldermen in favor of a new pool: Brenda Brown, Robert Williams, Mike O’Kane, Tricia Teague who wants more information, and Bob Iverson who said he wants the city to look at it.

Ward 3 Alderwoman Heidi Pertell, who’s on vacation, was absent.

Mayor Williams said “we need to provide our engineering staff some direction.”

The pool is closed this summer. The city also continues to wait on a replacement controller to be shipped to open the AMBUCS Sprayground for Everyone adjacent to the pool this summer.

The pool was built in 1969. The guttering around the pool and pieces of decking are falling apart and there are wall failures and cracks in the floor.

Iverson said more signage and a lazy river could make the pool a “destination place again.” He said making the pool a little better could be a short-term cost for a long-term impact.

Purh and Poshard said they favor establishing a pool fund for a possible new pool in the future.

The refurbishment would include two new slides, clearing of trees to the north and east for more parking near the entrance and a renovated bath house.

Mayor Williams provided aldermen with costs other cities spend on their pools and aquatic centers. They included Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur and Springfield.

Danville has the lowest admission of $4.50, with the highest admissions of $8 for a resident and $12 for a non-resident in Champaign-Urbana.

Danville’s annual expense is $111,514 compared to the highest of $934,715 for Normal’s Anderson Pool and also Fairview Aquatic Center and $538,000 for Champaign’s Sholem Aquatic Center.

Municipal contribution is $56,890 for Danville, $138,000 for Sholem and $188,290 for Normal’s two pools.

Decatur’s contribution was $15,000. It opened a new Splash Cove center this summer, with increased admission prices.

Williams said some of the pools, such as Decatur, also have private support such as foundations.

He said the Danville Family YMCA or other groups or foundations may help support the initial costs, but he’s not sure on continuing costs.

The city can use COVID-19 funds and reserves toward the refurbishment.

“The neighborhood still bothers me,” O’Kane said, about the surrounding industrial buildings, saying the city should do more to entice people to go to the pool.

City officials will look at the environmental conditions too with leaving the pool there.

Mayor Williams said he thinks few people won’t come to the pool because of its location. When asked where the pool could be relocated, he said it could go in another park, such as Winter or Douglas.

“There would be a number of options,” Mayor Williams said.

Danville City Engineer Sam Cole said the annual maintenance costs with a new or refurbished pool would be about the same with paint and other materials estimated at $150,000 to $300,000 a year.

Williams said a new pool and more amenities, such as a lazy river, could cost upwards of $14 million. He said Decatur officials said their lazy river cost $3 million.

In other business, the council heard from: Gaurang Patel with Stroud Liquors, 418 S. Gilbert St., requesting the city increase video gaming licenses from the 30 active ones; and Pamela Gorman about allowing RVs on residential properties and treating RV owners the same as boat owners.

“That is an issue we are working on,” Williams said.

Aldermen received a schedule for the 2021 tax levy and 2022-2023 budget discussions. Department head discussions start July 13. First drafts of the tax levy and budget to present to aldermen are expected on Oct. 5.

In other announcements, city hall is now open again in the mornings at 17 W. Main St. It is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Teague also asked about costs paid Aqua Illinois for three lots including at Jackson and Fairchild streets. Danville Public Works Director Carl Carpenter said it was for irrigation on city-owned properties.

The council also:

  • Heard Mayor Williams take a moment to recognize lives lost to COVID-19, families continuing to deal with side effects, and he strongly encouraged those who haven’t to get vaccinated.
  • Accepted a $37,500 grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Abandoned Residential Property Municipal Relief Program, and amending the budget for the funds. The grant will be used to demolish around five dilapidated structures in the East Main Street corridor area.
  • Approved amending Chapter 118 of city code pertaining to video gaming licensing. The amendment is for the city no longer requiring a copy of a location’s Illinois gaming license for renewal of the video gaming terminal operator or licensed premises.
  • Authorized finance department budget amendments for Azavar hotel motel tax and sales tax contingency payments of $643.93 and $3,830, respectively.
  • Heard Brown and Teague say there are ATVs, four-wheelers, on city streets and in parks. Danville Police will be looking into this illegal activity.

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