Belleville city leaders look into new options for closed pool

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 8:59 PM

(KMOV) – The city of Belleville closed its pool on Hecker Street two summers ago and now officials have started planning for a new pool that could carry a big price tag.

“It was really nice, it was fun. I have a lot of childhood memories there, that's where I learned to swim,” said Lydia Suchman of Belleville.

Suchman lives right by the closed pool where she swam with her siblings, mother, and grandfather but things changed.

"There was a year where the cops were called every day. It wasn't even safe for me to go by myself," said Suchman.

City leaders finally pulled the plug on the pool last year when it would have cost $60,000 to bring it up to state standards.

Then there was the American Disabilities Act, which would have taken nearly $500,000 to make the pool ADA compliant.

Jim Schneider is Belleville’s Director of Human Resources, Training and Community Development. He said the city needs a new pool.

“We know the people who came to the pool - camps, church groups, family groups, things like that,” Schneider said. These are the people and groups that don’t have access to other swimming options.

The city is now considering new options, everything from a new pool to more expensive options like Splash City in Collinsville. That cost nearly $5 million, five years ago.

Some have talked about a tax that would help pay for a pool which Scneider said it depends on how much it will cost the tax payers, “you know people today they are not rich. We’re pretty much taxed to death as it is.”

That’s why the city is resuming talks shortly to find partners for the projects; corporations, health organizations and so on.

It's not just about fun and recreation. Schneider said statistics show for a city Belleville’s size, drowning deaths are higher in cities with no pools.

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