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Mayor discusses failed McHenry Recreation Center referendum

McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett

The city has no plans to push a taxpayer-funded expansion on the McHenry Recreation Center after Tuesday’s referendum failure, the mayor said last week.

McHenry had a referendum on the midterm ballot that asked voters to allow the city to take out up to
$30 million in bonds to expand the center, which would include an indoor pool and create a family aquatic center.

Voters said no to the plan Tuesday, with about 61 percent of residents against it. A total of 9,859 votes were cast on the matter, according to unofficial results from the McHenry County Clerk’s Office.

“The goal all along was to put the question to the residents,” Mayor Wayne Jett said. “And that question has been answered.”

City officials estimated that the average homeowner would have to pay $180 in property taxes for 20 years to pay off the proposal.

“City staff, [the] City Council and I have no plans to recommend placing this topic on a future referendum,” Jett said. “It was answered pretty well that it is not wanted right now. We will back off of it. We did our jobs, and as far as I am concerned, I did my part to offer it to the residents.”

The multimillion-dollar Recreation Center opened in 2016 and was built with $4 million in funding the department had saved from developer donations over the years.

It was designed with space allotted for an indoor pool addition and expansion.

The existing swimming pool at Knox Park is about 30 years old and near the end of its useful life, officials have said.

The center has about 2,400 members, with McHenry’s population about 27,000.

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