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City To Host Virtual Forum On Future Of O’Neil Pool, Park

O'Neil Pool site vacated
Emily Bollinger/WGLT
The O'Neil Pool was demolished in order to kick-start renovations.

More public voices are needed to help decide the future of O’Neil Park in west Bloomington.

The Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department will host back-to-back virtual public forums from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, about the pool and park’s future. That’s on the heels of an online public survey completed by just under 1,000 people, with 75% from Bloomington. 

Bloomington Parks and Rec director Jay Tetzloff said they worked hard to get the word out. 

“We always want to make sure we're getting the word out, and so we did that on social media and we delivered about 100 survey paper surveys to the neighborhood surrounding O'Neil Park. We wanted to make that extra effort in the neighborhood,” said Tetzloff. 

There will be two different meetings Thursday—one starting at 5 p.m., another at 6 p.m.—to ensure that members in the community do not miss anything. 

People of the community are asked to come ready to talk. 

“For us it's going to be amenities within the park. We've got some ideas in mind, so we're going to want to know is, what is the order? What's the higher priority for the community?” 

Tetzloff said some of the survey respondents mentioned walking paths as a high priority.  

In the first round of building, Bloomington Parks and Rec says a new pool, parking and the skate park are main priorities. (The old, aging O’Neil Pool was demolished last year.) Other things such as paths can be done in-house. 

For the pool, Bloomington Parks and Rec wants to add slides, lap lanes or other features. Pool projects like this are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

“As you can guess, they might be a little busy right now dealing with other things like a pandemic, so everything is going to be just right for us to be able to open in 2022. So we're pushing this and fighting for this to get this done and want to make sure we're providing a great amenity for this community,” said Tetzloff. 

The project will cost an estimated $9-$10 million. 

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Camberyn Kelley is a WGLT intern focused on reporting and online writing. She is also a student in Illinois State University's School of Communication.
Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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