Elkhorn non-binding referendum to gauge public opinion on new aquatic facility

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Andrea Anderson
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ELKHORN--Elkhorn residents will vote in a non-binding referendum Tuesday on whether the city needs a new aquatic center.

The city council is proposing a new facility to replace the pool at Sunset Park. The new center would cost up to $3.5 million.

The referendum is intended to help the split council make a decision.

Alderman Brian Olson said previous councils and the current council have debated the project to no avail and are seeking the public's input.

The pool at Sunset Park is not compliant with handicap accessibility standards and has outlived its lifespan, Olson said. Twelve years ago, the city repaired the pool to extend its life 10 years. 

“To fix everything would cost the same as building a new one,” Olson said. “We are clearly out of time, so we went to the public opinion.”

Robert Slauson, Elkhorn resident and supporter of a new pool, was the chairman of the ad hoc committee the city council created to investigate the best options for the future of the pool.

Slauson said an engineering company assessed the pool's condition and found several mechanical and infrastructure issues.

“It's past the point where it could be refurbished,” Slauson said. “The company came to the consensus that we'd be throwing money away to repair it.”

Olson said the city has no definite design plans, but it has several minimum requirements, including zero depth entry, handicap accessibility to the pool and showers, and six swimming lanes and starting blocks for the city swim teams.

The city would use $3.5 million from its $7.5 million capital improvements budget to build a new pool.

Slauson said even if the city council decides not to build a new pool, residents will still see a tax increase of about $38 for a house with a value of $100,000.

Jim Taylor, an Elkhorn resident, is against the referendum and plans to vote "no."

“We're looking at thousands of dollars to get this one ready to go,” Taylor said. “It's used by very few citizens and open maybe 10 weeks out of the year.”


A Tuesday, Nov. 5, referendum will determine the fate of a proposed Woods Elementary School expansion and renovation.

Residents of the Woods Elementary School district will vote on the $5.5 million project that would expand the school by 22,000 square feet and renovate 4,000 square feet.

Residents would see an estimated tax increase of $56 for a house with a value of $100,000, Superintendent Ed Brzinski said.

The expansion would add six classrooms and a gymnasium and renovate its kitchen to allow the school to offer a lunch program. It also would revamp the entrance to direct visitors through the main office before gaining access to the rest of the building.

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