Archive for Thursday, April 8, 2004

Pool makes splash with voters

Referendum passes with 55 percent plurality

April 8, 2004

De Soto voters Tuesday approved the $2.65 million bond referendum to build a new swimming pool
Unofficial final results from the Johnson County Election office indicated the bond passed by a final vote of 387 votes yes to 323 no. De Soto voters approved the bond issue that will finance a new swimming pool behind the Community Center by a 55 percent plurality.
The figures will become official after Johnson County commisioners canvas the results later this week.
De Soto Councilwoman Mitra Templin, who worked on the pool issue for three years as a member of the De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission before her election to the City Council last year, said the referendum's passage was a victory for all in the community.
"I'm just pleased the citizens of De Soto chose to invest in the community the way they did," she said. "My argument is this pool keeps people in De Soto, and keeping people here is what it's all about. If you keep people here they spend here and maybe that means that ice cream store or coffee shop."
Templin gave much of the credit to the referendum's success to Kay Speed, who headed the Vote Yes for a New Pool Committee. The work of Speed's group to build awareness and get out the vote was key to the pool's success, she said.
"This would not have passed without Kay," she said "She took the bull by the horns and made things happen. We made a good team."
Speed, in turn, credited the pool bond's passage to community awareness of the need for a new pool.
"I'm just very excited and very pleased that people came out the way they did," she said. "I just can't wait until our kids have a chance to swim in the pool."
For De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson, the pool bond's passage was a vindication of his three-year effort to put the referendum before the city's voters.
"I'm not surprised -- I predicted this," he said. "I think it means people pondered what a community effort on this scale means to a quality of life."
Anderson said he believed many of the no voters objected to the the Community Center site and not the new pool. Now that that issue was decided, he said many would support the effort.
The City Council will start discussion on how to proceed with the bond issue at its April 15 meeting, Anderson said. City Engineer Mike Brungardt has indicated the pool should be completed in spring 2006, he said.
The referendum carried at all three De Soto polling places, although it lost in the advance voting. But it was the voting at Starside Elementary, which included precincts from newer sections of town, that proved to be the difference maker. There the bond issue carried by 165 yes to 127 no.
Templin and Speed said the victory at all sites reinforced their view that the referendum wasn't the young families versus senior citizen issue some claimed. Templin said she received many calls Tuesday from seniors voicing support of the new pool.
"People remember when the Miller Park pool opened, and they want that for the kids," she said.

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