Rushville will issue up to $850,000 in bonds for work on the city’s swimming pool after a close special election.
Ballots in the mail-in election were due July 9, and the final tally showed a difference of just four votes between those in favor of the issue and those against it. With a 42% voter turnout, 115 citizens were in favor of issuing the bonds and 111 were against. The favorable margin, no matter how slim, will allow the city to issue up to $850,000 in bonds and levy taxes to pay those bonds to renovate and modernize the city’s swimming pool.
According to the city’s website, Rushville’s public facilities currently include an indoor swimming pool, but a survey conducted by the Sink or Swim Committee several years ago indicated the need for renovations and the desire for an expanded facility. The committee has been working on proposals for the facility since 2015 and has settled on a two-phase option that will see the existing facility renovated and modernized and a new outdoor facility constructed.
A drawing by Burbach Aquatics, the same engineering firm that designed the Chadron Area Aquatics and Wellness Center, includes a zero-depth entry with water features on the outdoor portion, as well as shade structures and a raft slide and lazy river. The plan would add an additional 3,045 square feet of pool surface area and another 9,264 square feet of deck area, increasing the facility’s capacity by more than 160. All of the existing filters and mechanics also will be upgraded.
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The proposal taken to the city council was the seventh version the committee reviewed.
The city’s current pool was constructed in the late 1950s or early 1960s, said Rushville Mayor Chris Heiser. The Sink or Swim Committee was formed because the community realized Rushville had an aging pool and action would have to be taken at some point, he said.
The Sink or Swim Committee has done some small fundraisers, earning about $5,500 for the project, said Kris House, who serves on the SOS Committee. With the approval of the bond measure, the committee can now begin more serious fundraising and grant-writing efforts.
The $850,000 in bonds will be repaid with a special levy against all taxable property in the city. It is the committee’s hope to begin construction next year, with the new facility ready for use in 2021. House said the tentative plan is to begin construction at the end of August 2020 and have the new outdoor facility ready for use by June 2021, eliminating the need to close the pool during the regular swimming season.