Elkhorn residents vote in favor of new city pool

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Andrea Anderson
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

ELKHORN -- Children in Elkhorn could be splashing around in a new pool if the city council approves a new aquatic center.

In a non-binding referendum Tuesday, Elkhorn residents voted 1,069-310 in favor of replacing the pool at Sunset Park.

The split city council will take the voting results to heart and could make a final decision on the issue at its Dec. 2 meeting, Alderman Brian Olson said.

Past and present city councils have debated the future of the deteriorating pool to no avail, and the results are intended to help make a decision, Olson said.

“The community has come out strong and advised the council in rebuilding Sunset Pool and invest in Elkhorn's future,” he said. “With that I will ask to move forward on that investment.”

Olson said he will ask the city council to “get cracking and get things moving” at the next meeting, and he hopes to ask companies for bids on the project soon.

Robert Slauson, an Elkhorn resident and supporter of a new pool, said he was pleased with Tuesday's results.

“Not only did we win, we won by 78 percent to 22 percent,” Slauson said. “I think it shows how important it was to the whole community.”

The city council has no time frame or definite design plans, but it has several minimum requirements including handicap accessibility to the pool and showers, six swimming lanes and starting blocks for the city swim teams, and a zero-depth entry.

One thing is settled: the budget. The city could use up to $3.5 million from its $7.5 million capital improvements budget to build a new pool. The budget would not exceed that amount, Olson said.

Residents will see a tax increase of about $38 for a house with a value of $100,000—an increase that would have existed even without the pool, Slauson said.

Elkhorn resident Philip Jones said he voted “no” not because he was against the idea, but because of the amount of money it could cost.

“The only thing I'm against is that our city council seems to be easily persuaded to spend too much money,” Jones said. “For less than a quarter of what it could cost to build a new pool, they could have a gorgeous lake for swimming.”

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