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Bloomington To Consider Design Plans For New O’Neil Aquatic Center

Construction barrells at demolition site
Emily Bollinger
The city of Bloomintgton demolished O'Neil Pool during the pandemic to get a head start on a replacement for the 46-year-old facility.

As the City of Bloomington wraps up demolition of O'Neil Pool, the city is starting to work on a new aquatic center at the west side park.
The city council will consider a $775,000 contract Monday night for Williams Architects of Itasca to design a park that would include a larger pool and spray park that could be open several months longer than the pool each year.

Jay Tetzloff
Credit Eric Stock / WGLT
Bloomington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Jay Tetzloff said a new aquatic center at O'Neil Park could become regional tourist destination.

The council is scheduled to meet virtually at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Jay Tetzloff, Bloomington's parks, recreation and cultural arts director, said the new facility could make it a regional attraction, especially given its close proximity to Interstate 55. 

“We are really excited about where this can go and really rejuvenate the west side of this park,” Tetzloff said.

He said in addition to new amenities such as a skate park, all-seasons restrooms and a concession stand and patio, the parks department wants to see if other features such as a diving pool and water slides can be added to the design now or later.

“There’s a lot of yes, this is what we want, and there’s some things where it’s, ‘Here is what we are talking about, how could this play into now, how could this play into the future?” Tetzloff said.

The city hasn't said how much the aquatic center might cost, or what it’s willing to spend to build it.

The city put off O'Neil pool renovations for years, but decided to tear down the aging facility during the COVID-19 shutdown to get a head start on a replacement.

Tetzloff said the city hopes construction will begin next year, with the aquatic center opening by 2022.

Also Monday night, the city council will consider:

  • A $195,000 contract with P.J. Hoerr Construction of Normal to build a new evidence storage facility at the city’s police training site.
  • A resolution to pledge financial support to build a Constitution Trail southeast extension from Lafayette Street to Hamilton Road; the city is seeking an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) grant for the project.
  • An ordinance updating the city’s building codes.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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