Milton pool plan likely on hold
Click here for a full overview of the Milton Pool survey results which was provided by School Perceptions LLC, the consultants who conducted the survey for the Milton School District and the YMCA of Northern Rock County.
MILTON It appears unlikely the Milton School District will move forward anytime soon on plans to build a new pool on the city's south end.
A consultant on Monday presented the school board with results of a poll conducted in February and March. The survey asked districts residents if they'd favor a plan to build a new indoor pool with the YMCA of Northern Rock County and if they'd support a $4 million referendum to help pay for it.
The survey showed a thin majority supports the idea, but that residents likely wouldn't want to pay for it—at least not through a referendum.
"It's one thing to want something. It's another thing to be wiling to pay for something," said Bill Foster, a consultant with School Perceptions, LLC, which conducted the survey.
Foster said the fact that 50 percent of survey respondents said no to a referendum and that 15 percent said they were unsure was not a promising sign.
"Yes means yes, no means no, and I don't know usually means no," he said.
The survey was conducted in part to gauge public sentiment on whether to repair the district's aging pool at Milton High School, which one study said could cost $1.3 million.
The school district has been in talks with the YMCA about a possible partnership on a new pool. The facility would be built at Crossridge Park, a parcel of land on the city's south side where the Y has said it plans to eventually build a full-service health facility.
The district had hoped the survey would give the school board direction as the district worked to decide whether to repair the existing pool or move forward with plans with the Y—which would mean asking taxpayers for a referendum.
About 1,100 of 4,100 district residents who received the survey returned it, Foster said. The survey also gave responders a chance to comment, which Foster said yielded valuable information.
Board members on Monday asked if the timing was bad for the survey, given it was circulated while state legislators were in an historic battle over the budget repair bill.
Foster acknowledged many survey comments pointed to financial uncertainty, saying a common response was that it would be a financially "a bad time" to build a pool.
"They're not really saying no, they're saying maybe it's not the right time," he said.
School board member Bob Cullen said he believes it's unlikely the district would move forward on the project right now because the survey did not show support for a referendum.
He added the board plans to pore over dozens of comments from survey respondents before deciding whether to start planning repairs to the existing pool.