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Work continues on pool work funding

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Vandalia Park District trustees are continuing to work on a plan to fund needed renovations to the district’s swimming pool.
The district hopes to obtain the funding through several avenues for the renovation project, estimated to cost about $1.275 million.
The state has noted significant problems with the pool in each of the last three years, and has told the district that without rehabilitation work, the pool would have to be shut down.
At a special meeting last Thursday afternoon, Trustee Brian Stout told other park board members that he is working with Hurst-Roche Engineers in finalizing the district’s application for a state Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant.
Stout said that he had completed the online portion of the grant application, and that he planned to deliver the balance of the application on Monday.
This grant would be similar to the $200,000 grant the district received in 1996 for a new pool deck, he said. The district is applying for a matching grant of up to $400,000.
Stout also said that he was working to set up a meeting with representatives of the Old Capitol Foundation. The district is seeking a grant from the foundation, and representatives have asked in previous meetings for more information on the project.
He said that the project plans have been better formulated, “so they can better see our path, how we hope to accomplish our project.”
The project funding plan also includes a non-referendum bond issue and levying up to $353,017 a year for either 10 or 15 years, Stout said, with hopes of acquiring Tax Increment Financing assistance from the city of Vandalia, and using the TIF funds to abate taxes.
Other sources of funding for the project include revenue generated from the leasing of farmland owned by the district and the fundraising efforts headed up by Pool Manager Lisa Robbins and her staff.
Robbins reported last week that the Midnight Madness fundraiser held on Friday, June 20, raised a little more than $2,000, and that the pool staff had raised close to $18,000 in less than a year.
Robbins said that thus far, the community has been very supportive of the pool and the efforts to rehabilitate it.
“We’re not going out and just asking for money,” Robbins said.
“We just put out there what we’re doing, and the community has come to us.”