On Thursday, the Park Ridge Park District will consider whether to spend $7.1 million to demolish the two pools at the outdoor Centennial Pool complex and rebuild it using a new layout and design.
Most district residents--who live in Park Ridge and the southwest quadrant of Niles--first learned of the cost last week, and many residents do not yet know the district also plans to ask them on the April ballot whether they want to spend $6.6 million to acquire land at the former Youth Campus on Prospect Avenue in Park Ridge.
The district has said it would not need voter approval to spend the $7.1 million to re-do the Centennial Pool complex, and that it would not raise property taxes. However, if the $6.6 million April referendum to buy the land passes, then property taxes would increase.
The park district's website contains no information about the Centennial Pool complex plans or the proposed $7.1 million price tag as of late Monday, three days before the park board's meeting.
There was a brief mention of the proposed renovation in the district's fall brochure and in an email sent to the park district's email list subscribers last week, but no dollar figure was mentioned. The information stated only that the 58-year-old Centennial Pool has outlived its life expectancy.
Last week's email invited voters to an open house to explain the plans for Centennial's demolition and reconstruction, which Patch reported on. In August, the district also told residents it would be asking for their input.
Questions that haven't been answered
On Monday, April Armer, the district's Superintendent of Recreation, emailed the .pdf attached to this article, which contains a drawing of the proposed plans for Centennial Pool.
Later today, the park district will provide information on questions such as:
1) How was the $7.1 million plan arrived at? Could a simpler plan or variations in the plan cost less?
2) Could the $7.1 million be instead applied to the purchase of the Youth Campus land, and Centennial renovation made simpler and/or put on hold until the park district saves up money in its reserves for a thorough renovation--without a tax increase?
Park District executive director Gayle Mountcastle was not in the office Monday, Armer said. Phone calls to park district board members Rick Biagi, Mary Wynn Ryan and Richard Brandt were not returned.
Patch will update in a timely fashion.