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Community Pool &/or Recreation Center Q&A
How would a Pool &/or Recreation Center improve quality of life?
One in three American children suffers from obesity, a statistic that has tripled in the past 45 years. For many people, daily life is becoming more desk-bound and home-bound, and opportunities for exercise and community engagement are few and far between. A lack of exercise and personal interaction has a real, tangible impact on the health and happiness of our community.
In order to keep Villa Park in motion and combat the negative effects of obesity and inactivity, the Village is exploring the development of a Community Pool &/or Recreation Center. A 30,000 square foot facility could house a running track, basketball courts, exercise equipment, program rooms, a weight room, public meeting spaces, and offices. Other potential amenity options include preschool rooms and a coffee shop. Parks and Recreation staff would be onsite, and the grounds could potentially feature an outdoor pool and play space. The development would place an emphasis on renewable energy and green technologies where feasible.
Would a Community Pool &/or Recreation Center benefit Villa Park residents?
Yes. The facility would be open to all residents, creating a gathering place for all of Villa Park. Residents would have year-round access to a running track, facilities, and equipment. Students would be able to utilize the facility for classes, practices, meets, and open gym time. School swim teams would also be able to train at the facility in winter months. The Village is committed to fostering an open, inclusive environment in all of our parks and facilities, and the Community Pool &/or Recreation Center would be an integral part of maintaining a good quality of life in Villa Park.
The location being discussed for a Pool &/or Recreation Center is Lions Park. Lions Park was donated to the Village by the Lions Club. Geographically, it is centrally located — convenient for all residents. The park is adjacent to the Great Western Trail and a few blocks from the Illinois Prairie Path and the Salt Creek Greenway Trail. Lions Park is easily accessible from major roads.
How would the amenities be chosen?
Planning for public facilities will be undertaken with full cooperation and input from the citizens of Villa Park. This would allow the park system, to the greatest extent possible, to reflect the needs and interests of all individuals. A series of community input meetings will be held to receive comment on which amenities residents would like to see included in the project.
Would the timeframe from breaking ground to grand opening be lengthy?
The timeframe includes developing a scope of work through public input that would generate detailed elements of the proposed project; identifying a location; selecting financing mechanisms; and various other phases, such as design development, construction documentation, bidding negotiation, and construction administration. Once in motion, the project is estimated to take 20-30 months from start to finish.
What would a Pool &/or Recreation Center cost?
Based on preliminary discussions with Williams Architects, the Village believes the cost of a fully-built facility will likely range from $6.5 million (pool alone) to $22 million (pool and recreation complex), depending on which amenities are chosen. Because the Village plans to develop the project in phases, those costs would be spread over a number of years.
How do we pay for a Community Pool &/or Recreation Center?
The Village Board is evaluating financing options, including grants, bonds, tax increment financing (TIF), and fees as sources for funding this project. None of the aforementioned sources can singlehandedly meet the required funding needs for this type of project, but it is believed the project could be funded through a combination of these sources.
Through planning, the Village can forecast at which time additional debt can be taken on and at which time TIF funding will be available. The Village has recently issued road and library bonds, and as these are repaid, the Village will have additional debt capacity available.
The Village also intends to work with its local taxing bodies so as to better determine solid funding sources with as little financial impact on the community as possible. Depending on state revenue, the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) and Park and Recreational Facility Construction (PARC) grants may be available in the future.
Once the facility is constructed and used, it would begin to generate revenue through fees, which would in turn be used to cover expenses.
Why move forward now?
A number of events have pushed the Pool &/or Recreation Center to the forefront of the Village’s planning agenda. Both Lufkin and Jefferson pools have reached the end of their useful lives, and rebuilding them to modern standards may prove difficult, making the need for new, up-to-date facilities even more urgent. Unfortunately, Lufkin Pool will not reopen in 2018. Additionally, the Villa Avenue Tax Increment Financing District will expire in the next few years, and the revenue generated by that district will no longer be available.
3D Design Studio performed an analysis of responses to a recent survey concerning park and recreation facilities in Villa Park. According to the analysis, “The highest demand item was the development of a new Fitness/Recreation Center and the second was the renovation and/or development of a new swimming pool/aquatic facility. This item actually receives a higher Priority Rating due to the failing condition of the existing pools. Both are beyond their useful life span and cost the Village money each year. This item needs to be a primary focus for the staff and Village because of the status of the existing pools.” Rebuilding either pool to modern standards is expensive and contrary to the Village’s Park and Recreation Master Plan, which states, “The estimated costs to repair both pools would equal a large portion of the cost for one new facility. This fiscal analysis needs to be carefully considered. Referencing the Williams Architects Outdoor Aquatics Facility Evaluation Report (2013), the most prudent use of funds and resulting benefits to the residents would be to construct a new aquatic facility.”