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Marengo Park District swimming pool referendum to appear on November ballot

Nonbinding referendum to ask residents about pool reopening, tax levy increase

Marengo residents will have a chance to let the park district know if they want to pay for a swimming pool.

The Marengo Park District has filed a referendum question that will go on the ballot in the November general election. The two-part referendum is nonbinding and asks if residents are interested in the pool reopening and whether they are willing to endure a tax increase to pay for its opening and maintenance.

“Either way, we will move forward with a plan,” said Terri Paulauski, president of the district’s board of commissioners. “If residents are willing, we will find out what it will take to reopen the pool, and if they aren’t interested, we will explore other options such as a splash pad.”

The park district shuttered its pool in 2014 as a cost-cutting maneuver amid financial crisis.

In the past, the pool has cost about $32,000 annually, and the park district has struggled to make payments on a 2003 loan for the expansion of the Indian Oaks facility. The district has been making its payments, but in 2020 another bond will become due, Paulauski said.

“At this point with the programming we currently offer, we won’t be able to pay that bond payment,” she said. “We are looking constantly and talking about opportunities to restructure the bond so the payments won’t have as much of an impact.”

It is unknown how much it would cost to reopen the pool until an engineering study is done, Paulauski said.

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