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Morton Grove residents identify need for Harrer Pool replacement

After a structural assessment in 2017 identified Morton Grove's Harrer Pool as aged beyond repair, the Park District conducted community-wide opinion research, including a survey, five town halls and two open board meetings, which revealed the community overwhelmingly did not wish to close the pool, but instead replace it. If funding is approved, the updated pool would include a 50-meter, 6-lane heated lap pool, a separate spray pad and activity pool for children, a separate slide and diving area, improved concessions, a new bath house, and a party room. The new pool will also allow the Park District to make programming available it hasn't been able to offer previously, such as additional swim lessons, classes for seniors, swim team, and an extended season with an increase in hours of operation.

To accomplish these improvements, the Park District board passed a resolution to ask residents to consider a referendum for $11 million via a rate increase over a 20-year period. The approximate cost to Morton Grove residents would be $2.63 a month, or $31.57 per year per every $100,000 of home value. Those with homestead or senior exemptions will pay less than those without exemptions. The referendum will be on the upcoming March 17 ballot.

"We pride ourselves on our transparent relationship with our community as well as our financially conservative approach to the management of our parks, facilities and programs," said Jeff Wait, Executive Director of the Morton Grove Park District. "We have taken several measures over the years to decrease costs for the Park District overall, but resources are still not enough to fund this project. The pool replacement option chosen by our residents is very cost-effective, and we anticipate future operating costs of Harrer Pool to decrease."

If voters opt to pass the funding measure, the Park District anticipates groundbreaking on a replacement for Harrer Pool could happen in early fall of 2020 with the pool opening to the public in summer of 2021. If the measure doesn't pass, officials say the pool is unlikely to reopen anytime in the foreseeable future.

"Harrer Pool has been a part of our community since 1962, and it's clear from their feedback that our residents wish for it to remain a part of Morton Grove for generations to come," said Paul Minx, President of the Morton Grove Park District Board of Commissioners. "Throughout this process we have engaged and listened to the community, and we're happy to work toward protecting something that's so near and dear to their hearts."

Residents can ask questions and access more information about the referendum at https://mortongroveparks.com/harrer-pool-referendum/. They are also encouraged to follow the Morton Grove Park District on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the latest developments.


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