This summer 2017 file photo O'Neil Park Pool, 1515 W. Chestnut St., Bloomington.

BLOOMINGTON — No decisions on funding repairs at the O'Neil Park pool or deferred maintenance at the Bloomington Public Library will be made until later this fall.

The library also is envisioning a $28.5 million expansion at its current location and the parks, recreation and cultural arts department wants to replace the 45-year-old aluminum pool with an aquatic center that would be the centerpiece of a $10 million rejuvenation of the park.

Before that can happen, the pool needs extensive repairs before it can open next summer. 

City Manager Tim Gleason said Monday night that decisions on funding will have to wait until the city begins planning for the fiscal 2020 budget.

At the council's committee-of-the whole meeting, library Director Jeanne Hamilton said the library needs a new roof and other repairs, but before it can move forward, the council needs to provide direction about expanding the facility and committing to funding it.

The alternative is to make the repairs the Illinois Department of Public Health is requiring be completed before pool can open in 2019, said Tetzloff.

Those repairs could cost between $75,000 and $100,000. If the pool is open for only one more year, the city might be able to petition the state for a few less repairs, reducing the cost to between $8,000 and $9,000, Tetzloff added.

The pool replacement and expansion of the library are on a list of $74.5 million worth of possible capital projects compiled by city staff in January. The council has not decided which projects to fund and how they will be funded.

Those decisions also won't be made until work on the fiscal 2020 budget begins.

The library and O'Neil pool "have demands on some repairs that are needed, but it would be unfair to bring before council a larger plan because we don't know how the city's finances are shaping up for next year and projecting out a couple of years," Gleason said.

"But these are definitely areas that decisions are going to have to be made if, in fact, we do not see surplus revenues in order to do the larger projects that have been discussed," he added.

"We feel handcuffed at the library," said Hamilton. "We can't move forward if we don't know what the plan or vision of the council is." 

The library's board has been pursuing expansion of the library for 18 years and has about $6 million in total funding available.

Ward 4 Alderman Amelia Buragas, Ward 5 Alderman Joni Painter and Ward 8 Alderman Diana Hauman said during the meeting the cost of expansion was just too high when the city has so many other unmet needs.

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Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle


Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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