Exit Poll Shows Lake Bluff Residents Split on Pool Referendum
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Just like every other electoral race taking place Tuesday, the referendum to reconstruct the Lake Bluff Park District pool may prove to be extremely tight, if an informal exit poll taken by Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch is any indication.
Fifty Lake Bluff voters exiting the village's polling places at the Lake Bluff Park District and Union Church of Lake Bluff Tuesday were asked whether they cast a "yes" or a "no" vote on the highly debated referendum.
The poll showed a dead even split with 25 voters saying they voted for the new pool, while another 25 said they voted against it.
The $10.7 million referendum, with $7.1 million earmarked for the construction of a new public swimming pool, and an additional $3.55 million to fund a five-year Capital Replacement and Improvement Plan, has been hotly contested in recent months.
One faction has argued the Lake Bluff Pool is a vital part of the community that must be saved. The naysayers believe it is inappropriate in today's struggling economy to ask Lake Bluff taxpayers to fund such an expensive project.
These same feelings were echoed by voters on both sides of the issue. Most asked to remain anonymous in their feelings about the referendum, but those who voted "no" had the same basic reasons for doing so.
"They're getting a blank check, and the proposed pool is too big for the village," said one voter.
Many voters who voted 'no' also said the added infrastructure improvements attached to the referendum that were unrelated to the pool led to their opposition. If the referendum were solely about the pool, they likely would have voted differently.
"They needed to separate the pool from the rest of the things they want to take care of," explained a 'no' voter.
Resident Kari Skinner's children grew up swimming at the Lake Bluff Pool and held jobs with the park district, but she believed the proposed plans for not only the pool, but to the beach, and parks was just too much to ask of the taxpayers.
"I'm fine with fixing the pool, but not doing it for $10 million," she said.
For those who voted yes, they consistently stated two reasons for their decision: the community and the kids.
"It's great for our community, it's a great place to gather throughout the summer, and it will be good for our property values," said resident Holly Heitman.
"I had a child that loved that pool, and I want someone else's children to love that pool as well," said another 'yes 'voter, who wished to remain anonymous.
Although many voters chose not to reveal their vote on pool referendum, one of them believes this will not be the end of it.
"I think it's going to remain a very emotional topic," she said.