Interim park district director wants pool project expanded

By Gus Bode

The Carbondale Park District has already agreed to look into building a park district public pool, but the department’s interim director plans to propose the board also creates a recreation center.

Mike Heck said he will propose the idea at Monday’s board meeting.

“The aquatic center is going to be a key component of the recreation center,” Heck said.


The project Heck will propose includes the pool in addition tennis courts, a skate park and a basketball court.

The park district’s 18-acre lot next to the Superblock would serve as the site.

His plans come one week after the city released an updated pool feasibility study, the first of which to occur since 1997.

The original Aquatics Complex Committee, a group of local residents working to build a pool in Carbondale, asked the city council to update the study in April.

Sally Wright, one of the group’s members, said she was pleased with the work the city did but expressed concern that no dates have been set.

“The important thing is that we get there, but that we get there successfully,” Wright said. “If we actually get it, it’s worth it.”

The study showed the park would be operating on a loss of more than $233,000 by 2010.


However, there are things that possibly could be changed to make the pool profitable, Heck said.

“In terms of a good starting point, it’s fine,” Heck said. “I want to get more firm numbers in there.”

If the board votes to go forward with the project, he would like to get a tax referendum, which would ask residents to vote to increase their property taxes, drafted by January.

If the residents pass the referendum, it would confirm the community’s commitment to the project, Heck said.

In addition, Heck said he is also aggressively seeking additional funding like corporate sponsorships and donations to help pay for the pool.

Reporter Destiny Remezas can be reached at [email protected].