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Park district board gets update on Hopkins Pool project

DeKALB – The public could get its first look at plans to rebuild Hopkins Pool later this month.

At a special meeting of the DeKalb park board Monday, PHN Architects of Aurora presented rough schematics of what the new pool could look like, said Cindy Capek, DeKalb Park District executive director.

The meeting was a workshop and nothing was decided, she said.

“The board is concerned about being sensitive to the community,” Capek said.

Capek said PHN Architects will make formal presentations to the park board at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and at 9 a.m. March 2. For a number of years, park officials have been trying to renovate the pool, which was built in 1974 and is approaching the end of its 40-year lifespan. Park district officials hope the new pool is open in 2015.

The only variation in the three plans the architects presented are the size of the pool and deck. Capek said the plans had 900, 1,000 or 1,100 bather loads – a measurement of how many people can be in a pool at one time.

The state measured Hopkins Pool as having a bather load of 1,400 people, but Capek added that she didn’t know how the state accounted for space set aside for the slides, which is sometimes roped off.

Each of the different plans had a proposed price tag. The park district is looking to borrow $5 million for the project, and repay the loan using existing revenue sources. Park officials have repeatedly said that taxes will not go up as a result of the pool construction.

In 2010, DeKalb voters opposed a $15 million referendum that would have rebuilt and expanded the pool.

The defeated referendum resonates loudly with current park board commissioners, said board President Joan Berkes Hanson.

“The message we heard [from the community] was a pool is really important to us, but we don’t want to pay more in property taxes for it,” Hanson said.

Hanson said park district officials have been trying to balance the needs and demands of the community with the project’s budget. While nothing has been set, Hanson hopes the new pool is as good as the old one.

“We hope it will retain the features our community finds important,” Hanson said.

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