“With proper maintenance, we should be able to get another 15-20 years out of our pool with this renovation,” Brian Stout told Vandalia Chamber of Commerce members last Wednesday.
Stout, a member of the Vandalia Park District Board, was the speaker at the chamber’s monthly meeting. He outlined the justification and the benefits of the $1.7-million project being considered by the board.
“The Vandalia swimming pool is very important to the health and wellness of the Vandalia community,” Stout said.
“It’s important that we keep it open. I just want to make sure we’re able to do that in a financially smart way.”
He said that the current pool has several areas needing significant work. Among those are: renovating in the dressing room areas, installing a new deck, doing a major upgrade to the pump house and an associated wall at the south end of the pool, replacing the slides, incorporating a sloping zero-entry area for children and handicapped individuals, adding a mushroom sprinkler and changing the fencing.
Building a new pool, he said, would cost about $3.5 to $4 million.
Last year, the pool was open 90 days, and ran a deficit of $20,000.
He said that the park district has been pursuing grant funds at the state and local level to assist with the project. He’s committed to funding the repairs and improvements without going to property owners with a tax increase, he said.
“I don’t want the park board to have tunnel vision,” Stout said.
“We have a lot of property to take care of, a lot of equipment to maintain. We can’t spend all of our money on one project.”
In other business, chamber President Brock Brannon:
• Introduced this year’s winners of $500 scholarships from the chamber. They are: David Zimmerman, a 2014 graduate of Vandalia Community High School who will be attending SIUE as an English education major, and Katie Henna, a Greenville College student majoring in elementary education.
• Announced that a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a Business After Hours social will be held this Wednesday, from 5-7 p.m., at the new Field of Dreams pavilion between the baseball and softball fields.
• Invited members to participate in a work day at the chamber office on Saturday, May 24, from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Urged members to participate in the chamber’s golf scramble on Friday, May 23, at Vandalia Country and Golf Club. Hole sponsors are needed and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to noon.
• Announced that the Chamber Bucks program is ready to begin. That program allows people to purchase gift certificates in denominations of $5, $10 and $20 to be used at participating chamber businesses.
Chamber Executive Director Seth Whitehead announced that four businesses joined the organization recently – Durbin Seamless Guttering, The Red Door, Embers Pizza and Brownstown VFW. Those members bring the organization’s total membership to 100, he said.
Whitehead also noted that the chamber will observe its 100th anniversary on May 19. He will be writing profiles for the chamber’s website about several long-standing businesses that are chamber members.
June Mahon reported that 83 visitors from 14 states registered at the Tourist Information Center in April.