01STOCK_EVANSVILLETOWER

EVANSVILLE

The outcome of a Nov. 3 referendum could dictate whether Evansville continues to operate a community pool or not.

City Administrator Ian Rigg predicts that the 60-year-old pool at Lake Leota Park has only a couple of years of life left, at most.

If voters don’t support one of two plans for a new pool, the city council must decide whether to let the pool operate until it is no longer functional or to shut it down and avoid accruing costs.

Mechanical and structural issues have plagued the pool for at least six years, since Rigg was hired, he said.

A crack found in the pool’s tub in 2019 expedited its expected demise and played a role in the decision not to open the pool this year, along with risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, Rigg said.

Voters will have three options:

Option one: Build a new pool, two soccer fields and three baseball diamonds and improve playground features at Westside Park and replace the existing pool with a splash pad at Lake Leota Park.

Option two: Replace the existing pool with a new pool at Lake Leota Park and build a splash pad, three soccer fields, three baseball diamonds and improved playground facilities at Westside Park.

Option three: Neither of the above.

The city council has committed to acting on the results of the referendum, Rigg said.

Option one is estimated to cost $9.4 million, and option two is estimated at $11.2 million.

Taxpayers will not see any changes to their tax bills until 2024, after the project is complete, Rigg said.

The Evansville School District will pay off a significant portion of its debt service in 2024, meaning taxpayers will see a decrease in their overall tax bills, which include taxes for the city, school district, Rock County and Blackhawk Technical College.

The tax estimates did not factor in the possible approval of Blackhawk Technical College’s referendum because city officials were not made aware of the referendum while planning, Rigg said.

The owners of a $200,000 house—the average house cost in Evansville—would see an increase of about $125 over their 2019 total tax bill if option one is approved and an increase of about $186 over their 2019 total tax bill if option two is approved.

For more election coverage, visit gazettextra.com/election.

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