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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)

 

EVANSVILLE — With Lloyd Pool on First Avenue on its last legs, the push is on to build a new natatorium in Evansville.

A city task force has been discussing the issue for a year and has narrowed its long list of possible sites. One being prominently discussed is Garvin Park, where the city operates an outdoor pool, and where a potential funding source is in place.

Some other locations that have come up in the task force's deliberations include the former Roberts Stadium land and sites near the Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center on Lynch Road.

At Garvin Park, the city's Jacobsville Tax Increment Financing District could help pay for a pool's construction, Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer said. Schaefer is Mayor Lloyd Winnecke's point person on the natatorium task force.

Schaefer said no final decision has been made on where to build or how the project would be funded.

He said task force members are looking closely at the logistics of two remaining sites. He confirmed Garvin Park is one but declined to specify the other.

"It's been a long process the task force is going through, getting feedback and comments," Schaefer said. "But everything is still conceptual right now. The mayor wants to reach out to stakeholders about the two locations."

The YMCA and Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. are among those involved in discussions. No EVSC schools or local private schools have on-premises pools, so swim teams for many years have used Lloyd Pool.

Representatives of the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Evansville Sports Corp., whose function is to bring sporting events to the community, also have been kept abreast of the process.

Evansville's ability to recruit swimming and diving competitions to a new natatorium would depend on what the facility would encompass, said Eric Marvin, director of the Sports Corp.

Marvin said support from the local swimming community also would be a factor in trying to get events. With the right facility and adequate support, Marvin said Evansville could become a candidate to lure some events, but "there is certainly a lot of competition for swimming and diving events in the state."

Schaefer declined to say what the task force believes a natatorium would cost because all plans remain conceptual in nature, but he said it is hoped other entities will join in funding construction. "Obviously, we would like for it to not just not be the city."

Lloyd Pool was built in 1975, and although it has had upgrades through the years, all stakeholders agree it needs replacing. A new liner was installed in 2013. At the time, officials said it would be the last liner the facility receives.

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