BND surveys city aldermen on pool issue

News-DemocratSeptember 28, 2013 

Here is what Belleville city alderman have to say about whether the city should build a public pool, where it should be located and how the project should be funded:

Ward 1 Alderman Ken Kinsella

"Naturally I would support a pool. The people in our ward are very interested. They're concerned kids in Belleville have a place to swim. The problem is, I don't know yet how we're going to finance it. The site of the existing pool is no place for a pool. It did not have handicap access. I'd like a community center with an indoor and outdoor pool."

Ward 2 Alderwoman Janet Schmidt

"Put it somewhere like Illinois 15, so lots of people could use it. I'm not sure how accessible the old pool was to a bus line. I really wish we could replicate something like what Collinsville has. I've had a lot of people tell me they miss the pool and never thought it would close down. They would pay a tax for it but it depends on how much."

Ward 2 Alderwoman Melinda Hult

"I'd support a survey to see what facilities are available. I think a pool should be part of our long-term comprehensive plan. I can't promise we'll have one next year. We haven't discussed it since we closed it. And, well, we keep pouring money into Bicentennial Park. I think more people would use a pool than they would Bicentennial."

Ward 3 Alderman Gabby Rujawitz

"I think everybody wants a pool. I'm thinking maybe have it at Bicentennial Park, but that's just me. I'm just thinking that might be a good place: It's by Illinois 15, and Lindenwood and Belleville West are right there... You have all that ground -- you got 40 acres to work with -- but it'll take some money."

Ward 3 Alderman Kent Randle

"It could be a combination of splash pad, wade pool and water slides. I'd love to see the city have something, but where to put it? And the age old question: How would we pay for it? People see this as a necessity. Kids need someplace to cool off. But with all the challenges the city faces right now, it's going to take some serious conversation."

Ward 4 Alderman Johnnie Anthony

"Of course I support the city having a pool. No idea where it should be put or where the money could come from though. Hecker Street was not a good place for it. No one has said anything to me about the pool. I'd like to see more recreation for kids, to help keep crime down. I definitely would not raise taxes to cover something of this nature. Maybe we can have a partnership with Lindenwood."

Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden

"From what I've gathered, residents want this now. I think the city should build a water park with slides, diving. It could be a community center for swim meets but also a destination spot for people who live out of town. We can put it off Illinois 15, for easy access from Interstate 255, and that might even create the need for a hotel."

Ward 6 Alderman Bob White

"I don't know how much it makes or how much it takes to operate, but I take my grandkids there to Splash City in Collinsville. I think the project is going to have to be a joint venture, with private enterprise or with other cities, rather than just the city paying for all of it. Maybe we can work with other cities to locate it centrally."

Ward 6 Alderman Paul Seibert

"I would go for a new pool if we have the money and the proper place for it. I really don't know how we would pay for it. No residents have ever mentioned to me, not in any strong way, not a word about the pool. I guess they don't miss it. I guess they probably all go to the YMCA."

Ward 7 Alderman Trent Galetti

"The city should have a pool definitely, but it should be privately funded. The city has talked about getting sponsors and donors in line to build not just a pool but some sort of facility. I have no idea where the money would come from, so I don't have enough information now to be for or against such a project until I see a proposal first."

Ward 8 Alderman James Musgrove

"I think (a public-private partnership) is the only way we can do it. But there has to be more information for me to know if I can support it. Pools are very expensive today with the state requirements imposed on them. That's why we couldn't keep the old pool open -- with having to fix the drains and pipes -- it was so old it couldn't be fixed reasonably."

Alderwoman-at-Large Lillian Schneider

"Yes, we need a new pool and the money the city spent on the swamp (Bicentennial Park) would have been a nice down payment on a pool. This is something the city should have figured out instead of foolishly spending money on another park. They knew the pool was in bad shape before they closed it and they should have done something before then."

Ward 1 Alderman Mike Heisler, Ward 4 Alderman Jim Davidson, Ward 5 Alderman Phil Silsby, and Ward 8 Alderman Joe Orlet could not be reached for comment.

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