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Early discussions underway for joint Sycamore-DeKalb pool

Jadyn Thompson, 10 of DeKalb, performs a backflip off a diving board on a June 2012 afternoon at Hopkins Park pool in DeKalb.
Jadyn Thompson, 10 of DeKalb, performs a backflip off a diving board on a June 2012 afternoon at Hopkins Park pool in DeKalb.

DeKALB – As local public pools prepare to open for the summer, officials with DeKalb’s and Sycamore’s park districts are beginning discussions on partnering on a new pool.

The most recent suggestion of a jointly operated pool came from DeKalb park commissioner Per Faivre, who joined the board May 9. The Sycamore and Genoa Township pools open Saturday, while DeKalb’s pool opens June 1.

This would have been Hopkins Pool’s second-to-last summer before a $5 million overhaul, but Faivre’s suggestion pushed that plan to the back burner.

“While it may or may not work out, it was at least worth bringing up again to see if anything had changed,” Faivre said.

On May 9, the DeKalb park commissioners agreed to reach out to their Sycamore counterparts to see if this kind of cooperation would be possible. So far, no date on a joint meeting has been set.

Both park districts have similar problems: Because of the age of their respective swimming pools, both of them will be obsolete in a few years. Sycamore’s pool is 25 years old, while the DeKalb pool is closer to 40.

But the DeKalb Park District is farther along in the pool replacement process than Sycamore. This could be a factor in whatever negotiations take place, said Daniel Gibble, the executive director of the Sycamore Park District.

For months, DeKalb commissioners have been inching toward approving a replacement pool that would fit within the existing Hopkins Park pool facility. Plans for the renovated pool would reduce the maximum number of people allowed in the pool from 1,400 to 1,100.

Faivre said a pool should be able to fit 4 percent of the area’s population.

“When you have demand that’s going to increase significantly when you get a new pool, that needs to be accounted for,” he said.

Faivre and the other new commissioners – Don Irving and Keith Nyquist – campaigned on slowing down the pool replacement process, as they felt it was going too fast.

Members of Sycamore park board, as well as their long-term planning committee, acknowledge they need a new pool, Gibble said.

“A lot of the systems are starting to fail. … We need to begin to start thinking about the future of our pool,” Gibble said.

But Sycamore officials have only identified the need for it. Gibble said they will have to make a decision on whether to build within their current footprint or build a new pool elsewhere. The current pool sits in a flood plain, thus preventing officials from building a bigger one at that spot.

Both Gibble and Cindy Capek, executive director of DeKalb Park District, said the talks of a jointly operated pool have been in general terms. They said they have talked about location, but have no set idea where.

“Nothing was explored in terms of this was a particular piece of property [for a pool],” Capek said.

How much that pool would cost – and who would pay for what – has also not been determined. After failing to pass referendums to pay for a new pool in a new location, the DeKalb Park District was going to borrow $5 million for the replacement pool, and pay off the loan with existing revenue.

Phil Young, president of the DeKalb’s park board, previously said both park districts would have to pass a referendum in order to fund a joint pool. But Capek noted that the cost is entirely dependent on what is included in an agreement between the two park districts, if an agreement is ever reached.

“The funding would be dependent on the scope of the work or the scope of the project,” Capek said.

Local public pool basics

Hopkins Pool

• Season starts June 1

• Address: 1403 Sycamore Road, DeKalb

• Phone: 815-758-8853

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays

• Daily admission: $2 to $9 based on age and residency

Sycamore Pool

• Season starts today

• Address: 940 E. State St., Sycamore

• Phone: 815-895-9598

• Memorial Day weekend hours: Noon to 6 p.m. today, Sunday and Monday only

• Normal hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

• Daily admission: $5.25 to $9.75 based on age and residency, children 3 and younger free

Chamberlain Park Pool

• Season starts today

• Address: 400 E. 2nd St., Genoa

• Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays

• Daily admission: $3 Thursdays, $4 to $8 based on age and residency

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