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Voters to take up Elkhorn pool issue during referendum vote Tues.

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ELKHORN (WITI) -- Build a new pool or fill it in? That's the question Elkhorn voters will be asked on Tuesday's ballot.

The Elkhorn City Council is split on the decision -- and a non-binding referendum hopes to break the split.

Built more than 40 years ago, the Sunset Park Pool is past its prime. The pool itself was built to last just 20 years.

"The mechanicals and the main pipe system could fail at any time. We need to take some action immediately," Elkhorn Alderman Brian Olsen said.

Besides cosmetic work, the pool also needs to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by next summer.

"You'd really have to take out the entire bath house. You would have to take out -- you'd have to put in some lifts," Olsen said.

Olsen thinks the answer is building a brand new aquatic center -- one estimated to cost $3.5 million.

The City Council is split on the decision, but residents will be asked to check "yes" or "no" on a new pool on Tuesday's referendum.

"We're not looking to compete with Wisconsin Dells or anything but we'd like to try and keep zero depth entry and some diving lanes," Olsen said.

Elkhorn residents would pay for the pool. Olsen says the average household would pay $38 a year for the duration of the loan, which could be 10 or 15 years.

It's a cost Jim Taylor doesn't want to pay.

"I'm not against swimming for children by any means.

"Three-and-a-half million dollars you got to admit is a lot of money for a pool -- for something that's used maybe 10 weeks out of the year," Taylor said.

Taylor feels the pool is used by only a small percentage of Elkhorn residents -- and the city should instead spend its money on fixing infrastructure.

"It's had it's time and if times were better maybe we'd look at it a little bit differently than we are now," Taylor said.

Olsen fears a majority "no" would have long-term negative implications.

"Lose about 16 to 18 jobs here. If this were to be filled in this would be the most expensive piece of grass in Elkhorn," Olsen said.

It would cost $200,000 to demolish and fill in the existing pool.

The referendum does not guarantee action one way or another. That decision ultimately comes down to the City Council.

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