10/14/2013 10:27:00 AM Council could
revisit pool issue soon
By David Richards
Following a featured booth at the chamber's expo-style showcase set for later this month, Byron's pool committee is expected to send its proposal back to the city council in November.
The proposal is estimated to cost $7 million for an aquatic center and sports complex that will feature four adult softball/youth baseball fields in addition to pool facilities that include waterslides, a lazy river and a lap pool.
The pool committee hosted an open house at City Hall Sept. 26 to answer any questions the public may have.
Dozens of residents attended the event and asked questions ranging from the cost to the location.
The aquatic center and sports complex has been proposed to be located on the city's land south of the second addition of Byron Towne Village in close proximity to County Road 3 and Highway 14.
Gary Schaefer of Byron, who has two grandchildren in Florida and one in Byron, said he's not opposed to a pool, but questions the cost and the reasoning for an outdoor pool compared to an indoor pool.
"I'm not against the pool per se, I'm just opposed to the outdoor pool because of the amount of time you get to use it," he said.
Jennifer Laures, pool committee member, said an indoor pool has been looked at, but just doesn't seem feasible because it's hard to guarantee consistent use year round.
"Operating costs are also significantly higher," Laures said.
Schaefer also had concerns about cost, especially for seniors on fixed incomes.
"If they want to charge the tax payers fine, but then they should give them a refund when they figure out how much money they will make," he said.
According to figures from the pool committee, on a $150,000 home, taxes would increase roughly $184 a year, about $15 a month for the entire $7 million complex. For a $250,000 home, taxes would increase roughly $307 a year or about $25 a month; for a $350,000 home, roughly $430 a year or $36 a month; and for a $450,000 home, roughly $553 a year or $46 a month.
Nicole Provost, who recently moved her husband with their 5-year-old daughter to Byron and who attended the recent open house, said she is still making up her mind on the issue.
"Money doesn't grow on trees," she said. "You have to consider how you're going to spend your money, but looking at their tax scale, it seemed a lot lower than I expected."
Laures said if the proposal gets council approval, the sports complex and aquatic center could appear on ballot as soon as March of 2014.
If passed, the earliest the facilities would open would be 2015.