Princeville pool

Ownership could be transferred in June

For The Weekly Post

PRINCEVILLE – Sometime in June, the village might authorize transferring ownership of its decommissioned aquatic center to a Princeville not-for-profit group.

But some details need to be clarified, according to Princeville Village officials.

“Everyone’s trying to come to an agreement here,” Village Trustee Ron Delbridge said. “If we can get a few things worked out, my honest feeling is next meeting, we can vote on it.”

That next Village Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 3. But the main topic of discussion during the meeting May 21 was the Princeville Aquatic Center. That’s the name of the facility the board voted last year to close permanently.
It’s also the name of the newly formed organization that wants to resurrect it.

Pat Stahl, a leader of that group, estimated it would cost about $1 million to get the pool facility operating again. The pool has been inactive since the end of the 2022 season. Much of the fundraising and other work, like reactivating pool pumps, can’t take place until after ownership is transferred.

“We’re not going to be operating on wing and a prayer,” said Peoria County Board Member Brian Elsasser, a pool supporter. “We’ve already written letters to bigger donors. We’ll be very aggressive. I know there’s people who have said they’ll donate money. I’m not talking about just 5-10 dollars.”

Princeville Aquatic Center submitted a letter of intent May 13 to the village. The letter states the group will perform due diligence regarding whether it’s feasible economically to reopen the facility. But the letter also states the aquatic-center property would be returned to the village if no viable path is found.

During initial discussions with the save-the-pool group, that didn’t appear to be a sticking point. But upon further review, some officials, including Village President Jeff Troutman, said they’re uncomfortable with that provision.

“We were ready to spend the money to demolish this pool,” Delbridge said. “Someone else came in and wanted it. Fine. Take it. If it’s going to somebody else, it’ll be their responsibility, not ours.”

Princeville resident Spencer Wilson suggested it’s still the village’s responsibility to maintain the aquatic-center property. Wilson, who lives next door to it, told the board he believes the pool is a health hazard because of stagnant water and dead animals, including tree frogs.

“I think I’ve been more than patient,” Wilson said. “I loved it when the pool was open. I loved hearing the kids play. It was awesome. But something needs to be done. It is really creating a nuisance behind my property.

“I’m just saying clean it, folks. I’m not saying drain it or fill it up with sand.”

Chad Gardner, the village superintendent of public works, said he’ll attempt to respond to Wilson’s request. Regarding the letter of intent, attorneys are to review it again. Final consideration during the board meeting June 18 might be an option if the process isn’t completed by Monday.

Kathy Sullivan, a save-the-pool representative, pleaded for additional patience.

“I know it’s been grindingly slow,” she said. “Every step has taken way longer than any of us would like.”

In other business, the board discussed briefly but did not vote regarding a proposal to increase sewer rates by $1 per 1,000 gallons per household. The increase is to help keep pace with inflation and help pay for ongoing sewer improvements, according to Gardner. A decision is possible next month.
Last week, the board authorized:

• A $1,000 donation to the upcoming St. Jude Princeville-to-Peoria Run.

• A $2,500 Residential Rehabilitation Program reimbursement for roof repairs at 215 W. Main St.

• Implementing a Commercial Exterior Beautification and Renovation Program for a newly created village tax-increment-financing district. The grant fund is to be $20,000.
Initial approval also was given for two TIF redevelopment grants – $7,500 to Princeville Pharmacy for parking-lot blacktopping and sealcoating, and $10,000 to EB Buildings & Lumber Co. for construction of a new addition. Final approval is expected Monday.