Park districts represent communities. They represent health, education, fun and interaction, and are also a thread of togetherness.

In the more than three years I have been serving as a Commissioner of the Marengo Park District Board, the question I hear more often than any other by far is, "Will the pool be reopening?". The question is asked by adults and children alike and is sometimes accompanied by a recounting of memories of fun times spent at the Marengo Pool. Some inquiries take a more critical tone. Recent comments on the town's social media pages have even suggested that residents make an effort to raise the money and materials to rejuvenate the pool.

Marengo is in the Midwest, where our summers are limited and the weather is unpredictable. Even the most interested swimming families couldn't always make use of the pool. Research of public pool records throughout Illinois show that most public pools finish the season at a financial loss due to weather closures, overhead costs of personnel, water treatment and ongoing maintenance and replacement costs regardless of pool attendance.

The Park District is also financially burdened by loan and bond payments which are repaying monies used to make changes to the facilities many years ago. One such repayment will not even begin until 2020, leaving the Park District with only the resources to make absolutely necessary expenditures on facilities and program development.

Still, we hear the residents who are interested in having the pool open again, and they will have the chance to voice their opinion this November as the Park District is planning to post a referendum to the ballot asking residents if they want the pool to be restored to working order and re-opened. This would include increasing the tax levy to cover pool renovation and maintenance costs. The results of the referendum vote will be published and the Park District will use this information for future planning.

Residents of the Marengo Park District are always welcome to attend the Regular Park District Board Meeting held on the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Indian Oaks Park Building to learn about the district's latest developments.

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