News

McHenry to study feasibility of indoor pool at its recreation center

This rendering shows a potential expansion for the McHenry Recreation Center. The city has hired Heller and Heller Consulting LLC to conduct a feasibility study for adding an indoor pool to the facility.
This rendering shows a potential expansion for the McHenry Recreation Center. The city has hired Heller and Heller Consulting LLC to conduct a feasibility study for adding an indoor pool to the facility.

McHENRY – The city of McHenry hired an engineering firm to complete a feasibility study for an indoor pool at its recreation center.

City Council members voted to hire consulting firm Heller and Heller Consulting LLC to conduct the study over a three-month period. The company will look at McHenry’s demographics, the results of a recent parks and recreation community survey and operational plans for a potential indoor pool.

The city has agreed to pay $19,500 for the services from the McHenry Recreation Center fund. Any expansion of the existing recreation center would require some form of public funding, likely in the form of a tax increase. The question could be put to referendum next year.

The existing multimillion-dollar center was built from park developer donations accrued over many years. The space was designed with the intention to allow the possibility of an indoor pool addition. The center had been in the works since 1999, when city officials decided to save 50 percent of its developer donation revenue for a combined aquatic and recreation center.

Residents have shown a strong interest in expanding the facility, Parks and Recreation Director Bill Hobson said.

“The results of a recent community-needs assessment noted a strong desire to expand both indoor and outdoor offerings at the McHenry Recreation Center, such as an indoor pool for lap swimming, a warm water therapy pool and zero-depth spray pad,” Hobson said in a note to the City Council.

Residents also want a gymnasium with a walking track and an outdoor aquatic center with more amenities, he said.

City officials have to determine whether they want to use a referendum by August for the November election. The feasibility study will help figure out costs of the project, as well as maintenance and operational costs.

“The process of a referendum, as unpopular as it is, truly puts [the decision] in residents’ hands,” Hobson said.

City Council members voted, 4-3, in favor of the study, with 1st Ward Alderman Victor Santi, 2nd Ward Alderman Andrew Glab and 4th Ward Alderman Scott Curry voting against it.

The response rate on the community-needs assessment was 6 percent, which Curry said doesn’t show a strong interest.

“To me, it just doesn’t appear we have a great return for our investment for the survey,” Curry said. “I am unconvinced there is a strong community desire. Maybe it’s true, but I don’t think we have shown that.”

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.