No swimming pool in Byron next year
BYRON — There will be no public swimming pool open next year in Byron.
Cracked water lines caused the closing of the city's 26-year-old pool on July 1.
A pool committee was formed late last year and last night presented its recommendations to the city council.
Jennifer Laures presented the group's recommendations:
• The old pool location at 500 Byron Ave North is too small for a new pool.
• The old pool is not worth repairing.
• The ideal new location is on city-owned land near Byron Towne Village on the east end of town. The council had discussed building a sports complex at that location.
• The wish list for a new aquatic center includes a six-lane lap pool, a lazy river (wherein people can float on inner tubes or walk against the current for physical therapy), water slides, a splash pool, a climbing wall, a zip line, a plunge pool, a concession area and outdoor lockers.
Building the new complex would take about nine months, after financing is in place and the center's plans are complete. The earliest possible opening date would probably be in 2015.
The price tag for the wish list is about $5 million. The committee members who attended the meeting enthusiastically agreed to start spreading word about a new aquatic center and would like to see a referendum on funding in as little as 60 days.
City Administrator Mary Blair-Hoeft reminded the group that a $3 million pool would raise property taxes on a $150,000 house about $100/year for 15 years. A $5 million complex would cost the same homeowner $136/year.
That cost does not include building a road to the complex from the Towne Square plaza so access wouldn't be solely through a residential neighborhood, the development of the rest of the sports complex, or pool operating costs not covered by swimmers' fees.
Blair-Hoeft also said that city staff members are not allowed to encourage or discourage any referendum.
Next, the Park Board will weigh in on the proposal.
The council meets again at 6 p.m. Aug 13 at city hall.