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McHenry weighs aquatic, recreation center options

City Council eyes scenarios for both facilities

Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 11:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 11:21 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – A combined aquatic and recreation facility is not looking like an option, according to McHenry city staff conclusions based on a recently completed feasibility study.

The McHenry City Council hired Dewberry Architects in August to develop a plan for a proposed facility that would cost about $8 million and include an outdoor pool, indoor athletic and multipurpose spaces and offices for the city’s parks and recreation department.

The plan also was to pay off the project using revenue generated by the facility and $4 million in developer donations that the city has already put aside.

“My goal is – and I think the council’s goal is – to make it self-sustaining,” City Administrator Derik Morefield said.

But while several of the scenarios laid out by Dewberry in the study generate income, the margin isn’t enough to cover the cost of construction and financing the project, he said.

One option, if the council decides to move forward with the project, is just to do one or the other, an aquatic facility or a recreation facility.

The council could also decide to kill the whole project, shelve it for now or move forward on the combined facility with another revenue stream to help cover construction and financing costs.

A Committee of the Whole meeting planned for Monday evening is devoted to discussing the study.

Dewberry representatives will also try to give a snapshot of what it would look like cost-wise if the city decided to pursue either an aquatic center or just a recreation center and whether those scenarios would cover the cost of construction and financing.

City staff recommended that a recreation center be chosen if the council goes this route, because it will address more of the community’s needs by providing opportunities for expanded programming and services, according to council documents.

Unlike an aquatic center, a recreation facility would also be available for year-round use, the documents said.

If you go

The McHenry Committee of the Whole meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at the McHenry Municipal Center, 333 S. Green St. The City Council meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m.

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