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Hawthorne Pool renovations to begin despite higher cost

Tri States Public Radio
Jane Carlson

Galesburg is moving forward with renovations to the city-owned Hawthorne Pool, despite bids coming in way over budget.

Interim city manager Wayne Carl said $1.3 million was budgeted for this phase of renovations, which includes exterior and structural work.

But the lowest bid came in at $2.3 from CAD Construction.

“Staff worked with them to try to value-engineer the proposal so they could get a little closer to budget,” Carl said.

Now this part of the project will cost $1.9 million.

The city council voted 7-0 to proceed with renovations, but many expressed trepidation about the cost.

The council also approved a bid of $81,000 to replace the pool liner.

The city intends to pay for Hawthorne Pool renovations from the planning fund, but now will use American Rescue Plan Act funds as well.

Originally those ARPA funds were reserved to offset costs from police and fire department salaries.

Residents have been pushing to save the pool for months.

Linda Miller spoke to the council about the history of the facility.

She said the brick building was originally constructed as part of Mayo General Hospital and used as an Army hospital during World War II.

Later the facilities were used as a satellite campus for the University of Illinois, and then for decades as the Galesburg Research Hospital and Galesburg Mental Health Center.

Miller said the pool has served citizens in many ways over the years.

“Since being sold to the city of Galesburg for $1 in 1986, the pool has continued to serve our citizens of all ages, genders, and physical abilities,” Miller said.

Once renovations begin, the pool will be out of commission until May.

The parks department is working to arrange use of area hotel pools to keep activities going during that time.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.