De Pere votes against reconsidering pools plan

Swimmers enjoy Legion Pool in De Pere in June 2016. (Photo credit: WLUK)

DE PERE (WLUK) -- At its meeting Tuesday night, De Pere's common council decided to move forward with its current pools plan.

The plan calls for the city's two pools to close and for a new aquatic center to be built.

In an effort to please all of De Pere's residents, Alderperson Jonathon Hansen asked his common council peers to reconsider the plan, which was passed a year and a half ago.

“I'm skeptical that a plan that could potentially alienate half the city could be successful raising funds,” said Hansen.

In November 2016, the council voted to close the pools at VFW and Legion Parks and build one new aquatic center. In March, the council decided that the aquatic center should be built at VFW. Nine months after that decision, in December, Legion Pool supporters started to voice their concerns with that plan.

“Quite honestly, none of us knew about it,” said Dan Van Straten, a member of De Pere’s school board. “It was not given out. It was not portrayed in such a way that we knew something was out there to get involved with and take a look at.”

Despite the desire to try to save Legion Pool, the council voted 6 to 2 to keep moving forward with the one aquatic center.

“Will I lose friends because of it? Very well could be, but I literally have to look at what's best for the city,” said James Boyd, a De Pere alderman.

The common council, however, did ask the city's parks staff to keep listening to Legion Pool's supporters. It also voted to have the pool's supporters come back in a few months with a presentation on how to possibly replace the aging pool.

“You can't give up on it,” said Van Straten. “One thing with De Pere, the residents are very close knit, it's a fantastic community, so when there are challenges like this, people are going to rise up and get involved.”

So far, there is no plan for how a new aquatic center will be paid for. The city is also still coming up with how many bells and whistles it wants.

Early price projections range between $4 million and $9.5 million.

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