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posted: 9/19/2013 5:30 AM

Winfield: Our community pool is in Carol Stream

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Many Winfield residents who responded to a recent survey said they would use the park district more if it had a community pool.

But park district officials insist they have no plans to float the idea of a property tax increase to construct such a facility.

Instead the district wants to raise public awareness about an agreement that lets Winfield residents use public pools in Carol Stream, including the indoor facilities at the new Fountain View Recreation Center at Gary Avenue and Lies Road.

"You basically have a community pool: It's in Carol Stream," said Mark Pawlowski, executive director of the Winfield Park District.

As part of an intergovernmental agreement, Winfield residents pay the same rates as Carol Stream residents "for admission and program fees for activities, structured or drop-in," at Carol Stream Park District's outdoor and indoor pools. In return, Carol Stream can use Winfield's ball fields for tournaments and other events.

Still, Pawlowski said he knew swimming "would be an issue" when the Winfield district conducted its recent community interest survey. Indeed, 58 percent of the 364 respondents indicated they want the district to have a pool. The next most requested amenity was a dog park, which garnered support from 32 percent of respondents.

Pawlowski said officials are exploring whether the district has the space and funding to open a dog park. But building an outdoor pool would cost between $4.5 million and $5 million and require voters to approve a property tax increase.

With village officials already debating whether to seek a tax increase to raise money to fix the town's roads, Pawlowski said it wouldn't make sense to put a pool proposal on the ballot.

"We already have a great option," Pawlowski said, "and you don't have to pay tax dollars to support it."

Still, nearly 73 percent of the Winfield survey respondents didn't know they would be charged "resident" rates at Carol Stream's indoor pool. Almost half didn't know they could use Carol Stream's outdoor Coral Cove Water Park, near Lies and County Farm roads.

So the park district in Winfield is going to do more promotion of its pact with the district in Carol Stream. "We'll be dedicating more space in our park district brochure," Pawlowski said.

Overall, the survey results were positive for the Winfield district. Sixty-four percent of respondents rated the district's sites as very good or excellent. Less than 4 percent said the sites need improvement.

After 31 percent of the survey respondents expressed support for a "sprinkler/spray park," officials are considering whether something could be done "on a small scale" at Wynwood Park. The district might seek grant money to make improvements to the park along Wynwood Road.

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