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Hopkins Pool plan placed on hold

Parks officials to wait on approving construction firm, paying full cost for schematics

Published: Friday, April 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

DeKALB – Before a packed crowd that included some of their successors, DeKalb park commissioners tabled the decision to approve a construction firm to build the new Hopkins Pool.

They also held off on paying PHN Architects fully for their work for the schematics they made of the new pool, which would have a capacity of 1,100 bather loads. The board voted to pay the architects for 90 percent of the work that has been done.

“I think what the board decided to do tonight was revisit the schematic plans as well as the construction manager’s agreement,” said executive director Cindy Capek. “How that impacts the schedule will be dependent on future meetings moving forward.”

Thursday marked the current park board’s last meeting. Commissioners Joan Berkes Hanson, David Mason and Mario Fontana will be replaced by Keith Nyquist, Per Faivre and Don Irving, who were elected Tuesday.

The commissioners-elect were among the members of the public who lobbied the park board to slow down any decision involving the replacement of Hopkins Pool.

“It will be the taxpayers who will be judging us by the results,” Nyquist said. “We would like to be the ones who make that decision.”

Nyquist’s petition found sympathetic ears on the board. Commissioners Phil Young, Mason and Fontana voted to table approving the construction firm.

“I think it’s [the new board’s] responsibility,” Mason said. “They are responsible for the burden of the pool. I think anything dealing with the pool from us at this table should be sent forward to the new board.”

For months, the board has been deliberating on replacing Hopkins Pool. The pool is nearing the end of its 40-year life span, and schematics on the final product have been presented to the public.

The new pool is projected to have a size of 1,100 bather loads. The current pool has about 1,400 bather loads. To pay for the pool the district would borrow $5 million and repay it without raising taxes. However, the commissioners-elect have each said they felt the project needs to slow down.

Capek noted in an interview before the meeting that any park board always can choose to stop the pool replacement project altogether, stating the board sets district policy.

Hanson disagreed with Mason’s motion to table the approval of the construction firm. She said she has spent five of her eight years on the board dealing with the pool issue, and she felt she earned a say on it.

“I don’t want to pass that onto a new board,” Hanson said. “I don’t want to pass something important and good for our community onto a new board. I feel that’s quitting.”

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