Gold Medalist Urges Replacement of Evansville Pool
EVANSVILLE - The Evansville Redevelopment Commission has unanimously approved a $25 million bond issuance request to finance the largest portion of the planned $28.4 million Deaconess Aquatics Center. The project, championed by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, would include recreational and competitive swimming amenities.
In his pitch to the council Monday night, Winnecke discussed the breakdown of how it will be paid for, which involves the bond funds, $5 million from riverboat casino proceeds, $4 million from the Jacobsville Tax Increment Financing district, $700,000 from the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. and $2.5 million for title naming rights from Evansville-based Deaconess Health.
Lilly King, a U.S. Olympic Team gold medal-winning swimmer and Evansville native, spoke at the city council meeting and said the conditions of the city's current indoor swimming venue, 43-year-old Lloyd Pool, saying they were lacking compared to other venues. Councilwoman Missy Mosby said "I know the need for this, my niece and nephews took swimming lessons there last year and, as Lilly King said, it is embarrassing for Evansville."
Connect to replay of City Council meeting (including King's words around the 27:30 mark):
During testimony prior to the vote, King added "I've never swam a swim meet in my hometown. I can't think of any other swimmers at my level who can say that. Again, it just shouldn't be like that for these kids growing up swimming in this wonderful city. We put so much effort into making this a great place to live and a great place to grow up, but for the people I grew up with at Lloyd Pool, those rusty pipes, those unusable bathrooms, the pool -- which i remember at eight-years-old being covered with algae on the bottom -- it's just no place someone needs to grow up or have a positive swimming experience at." She says she changed swimming teams as a kid because of the conditions at the current facility.
Winnecke says the future of the old site is "to be determined." He says options could include greenspace or a splash park, but that would have to be decided after demolition, which would be scheduled and paid for in the years to come. Approval for the release of TIF and riverboat funding will be requested in the coming weeks. Construction, Winnecke said, could start in the spring and be completed in August of 2020. It will be located in Garvin Park, across the street from Bosse Field, the city's historic baseball facility.
Editor's note: a previous version attributed the word "embarrassing" to King instead of Mosby.