Pool proposal

Noel Bolinger had the latest display for possible pool improvements at Monday night’s Shelbyville City Council meeting.

Shelbyville City Council members discussed on Monday Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries in town. They had no appetite for it.

“I am not in favor of it,” said Commissioner Thom Schafer. “If people are so inclined they can go to Effingham or somewhere else.”

“My immediate reaction is, no,” said Commissioner Debe Wright.

“I don’t see anything positive about it,” said Police Chief Dave Tallman. “There is no advantage to us.”

“If we opt out, I understand we still receive a tax payment from the state,” said Commissioner Firnhaber.

“That’s right,” said City Attorney Jack Kiley. “We just don’t receive local sales tax from the sale of it.”

Kiley advised that if the city opts out of having recreational pot dispensaries in the city they need to pass an ordinance to that effect.

“I am personally leaning against it,” said Mayor Johnson. Johnson then asked Kiley to draft an ordinance for the next meeting. No vote was taken.

The council did vote unanimously to declare 102 W. Main, a vacant lot where Rock Creations used to be, as surplus property. That would pave the way for it to be sold if a buyer was found.

The council discussed closing the 100 block of North 1st Street to traffic, adjacent to Main Street School during a portion of the school day. The 100 block is where buses drop off and pick up students. Parents also pick up students or park there for temporary business in the school.

“It would be a good thing,” said Chief Tallman. “There is some confusion with motorists.”

Chief Tallman said there are no residences in that block, where people would have to use the street and that there is an ally in the middle of the block if motorists needed to exit.

Kiley was directed to work out the details with the chief, City Clerk Rachel Wallace and the school.

Prior to another free-for-all discussion on the fate of the Chautauqua Building, the council heard from Noel Bolinger with an update on a recommendation for possible improvements at the Shelbyville Family Aquatic Center.

Bolinger referred the council to a new diagram from Burbach Aquatics of the what the pool would look like if it was expanded according to the recommendation of the pool committee. It almost doubles the square footage and adds a lazy river, another water slide, and a splash pad for little kids.

“There would be a climbing wall instead of the drop slide,” Bolinger said. “That would provide another feature. The drop slide is showing signs of age and will have to be replaced at some point.”

The drop slide is a partially enclosed blue slide for one person to use at a time. It drops swimmers in the pool instead of a gradual slide into the water. It has been with the pool since it opened.

The climbing wall is in the deep end and leans out over the water. Swimmers would also drop into the water from the wall.

“The addition would cost $3.5 million,” Bolinger said. “You could issue bonds. The interest I think is 2.5% for 15 years, costing $25,000 a month or $300,000 a year. If the bonds were for 20 years the cost would be $250,000 a year.

“The old pool bonds were about $250,000 a year for over 20 years. However, long term bonds were paid off by donations and everything was paid off in 15 years. Could we offer this again, yes.”

Bolinger cautioned that 20 year bonds at 2.5% would tighten the city budget and that the council needs to consider that.

“A tighter budget would limit the city in other areas of spending,” Bolinger said. “It would limit other projects, like the Chautauqua Building.”

That concerned Commissioner Schafer.

“My concern is limiting other projects,” Schafer said. “We have equipment that need repairs. Everything is in the shop. We are treating arterial wounds with band-aids.”

Shanks believes the future is in promoting Shelbyville tourism and for him the park is a big part of that.

“Our opportunity is as a tourism community,” Shanks said. “It will pay dividends down the road if we work on it. This would put us on the map and draw people.”

Bolinger suggested that people come to Shelbyville already because of the pool or have another reason to be here because of the pool when they are thinking about visiting.

People already come from Mt. Zion, from Pana, Mattoon to the pool,” Bolinger said. “Some come from the Effingham area.”

Some in the audience who agree that the pool is a draw, thought that the hours should be extended in the evening and during the day after school starts in August, but before the pool shuts down on Labor Day.

After a spirited discussion on the Chautauqua, the mayor asked if there was any unfinished business. Commissioner Firnhaber wanted an update on the Senior Citizens Center budgeting questions.

Mayor Johnson indicated that committee would meet and have something for the next meeting. Commissioner Schafer reiterated that his equipment is all down or in need of repair.

“Everything is in the shop, except the guys,” Schafer said.

Commissioner Shanks asked if it was alright if non-citizens of Shelbyville were involved in committee meetings, being that they are meetings open to the public. Attorney Kiley said that as long as it is advisory that it is O.K.

Commissioner Debe Wright announced the retirement of Mark Walbright from the water & sewer department. She said he had been with the city for 33 years. She commended him for his service to the city and said he would be missed. Seth Moeller, from the cemetery crew, is to be hired to take the open position.

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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