Proposed designs change for De Pere's Legion Pool causing concern

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) -- Emotions are once again running high in the De Pere community as city leaders work to redesign the city's two community pools.

As we've reported, voters passed a referendum which would fund the redesign of both Legion and VFW pools.

Last month, the public weighed in on two concepts for each pool, but now the Parks Board has proposed a few changes to Legion pool's design, causing some concern.

Late last week, the city rolled out a possible new design for Legion pool, which some say deviates from the original proposal.

“There's only a tot area and a lap pool. There's nothing in between for older kids, teenagers, even adults who don't want to be in the lap area,” said Alderman Jonathon Hansen. Legion pool is in his district.

He also says both pools would be significantly smaller.

“Right now the main pool area for both Legion and VFW are about 7,500 square feet. Under the proposed conceptual design, square footage for Legion would be under 5,000, so the tot pool would be bigger, but the main area for swimming would decline significantly,” said Hansen.

The new design includes a lap pool with two diving boards -- down from three diving boards in the original design -- and a separate activity and tot pool.

“We took the activity piece out to compensate for the lack of water space that was there for usage. We added two more lanes to the lap pool which is almost an even trade-off in terms of the amount of water that was available for activities and play,” said Alderman Dean Raasch, of District 3, who serves on the Parks Board.

Another problem for Alderman Hansen is the proposed cost to build each pool.

“The budget for VFW would be over $7 million, and I think for Legion it would be about $5.5 million. I think there's an expectation when the referendum passed that it would be more equitable between the two pools,” said Hansen.

Some may have heard there is a $12 million budget to construct both the pools, but park board members say there is no budget yet.

“The $12 million number was a number that we asked our finance director for the city to look at and say – 'What if we had to bond $12 million, how would this referendum money work over a 20-year period, 15-year period, 10-year period?''” said Raasch. “It was a guide to look at budgeting, a guide to look at cost allocations. It had nothing to do with setting a budget or a cap on how much money could be spent.”

Alderman Hansen hopes to change that at Tuesday night’s city council meeting before the board can move forward with more plans for the pools.

“I'm going to propose that at the following meeting the council finalize what the budget should be for both pools, and then the park board can come up with designs based upon that budget.”

A consultant will present the design changes at Thursday's parks board meeting slated for 6:30 p.m.

The board will then decide if more changes need to be made before sending the plans to the city council for approval.