BY SAMANTHA PIDDE

Results from a public survey sent to Mount Carroll residents regarding a possible community center as well as a new outdoor swimming pool were presented at the Tuesday, Feb. 9, Mount Carroll City Council Zoom meeting.

A total of 736 surveys were sent out to Mount Carroll households by the city on Nov. 23. The surveys were broken into two parts: a three-page form regarding a proposed community center paid by money from the William Davis Trust and a two-page form regarding the possibility of constructing a new outdoor community pool.

Duane Wepking and Roger Schamberger from Burbach Aquatics, who conducted the survey, told city officials Feb. 9 that 179 surveys were returned by the Dec. 31 deadline.

Burbach said 80 percent of those turning in surveys indicated they had lived in Mount Carroll 10 or more year and the largest section of those filling out the survey were above 60 years old. Wepking said this was a 24.3 percent return rate, which he classified as "well above normal."

Wepking took the council through a brief slide show presentation of the survey results, beginning with the forms concerning the community center. He said 75 percent gave a "positive response" to having a community center and 69.83 percent would support the formation of a park district.

Only 50.28 percent said they would be willing to pay a membership fee for community center use. Nearly 75 percent of those who completed the survey said their family would utilize a community center.

The survey also listed a variety of community center services and uses, asking people to identify which ones they would like most. Wepking noted some discrepancy in how people filled out this section, explaining that while some ranked their preferences (with 1 being top preference) as asked, other simply placed check marks in services/facilities they liked.

Burbach Aquatics was able to identify the top 10 responses. The list includes, in order:

Indoor walking/jogging track; cardiovascular/fitness equipment areas; rooms for community meetings and family gatherings; rooms for recreation classes and other activities; indoor therapeutic swimming pool; adult programs/classes/seminars; social activities area; rooms for banquets and catered events; cafe'/coffee and concession area; weight lifting and exercise areas.

Survey participants were asked for possible locations for the community center. The top eight responses included:

The old Mount Carroll School on South Main Street (25 votes); near the West Carroll Middle School (13 votes); near the new senior center on East Benton Stret (6 votes); by the bus garage/swimming pool area (4 votes); Shimer Square (3 votes); within walking distance kids in the city limits (2 votes); the old motel on Illinois 64 (2 votes); the old football/soccer field (2 votes).

Wepking also presented results for the pool survey, of which the city received 175 responses. He noted that 60 percent of people felt the city's outdoor swimming pool is "important" and 56 percent said they would use a pool. According to the presentation, 61 percent of those filling out the survey felt the city should build a replacement outdoor swimming pool.

Similar to the community center survey, people were asked to rank amenities they would like at a new pool. Wepking stated the top 10 amenities were (in order):

A zero-depth entry; a waterslide; a concession area; a shaded picnic area; a shaded deck area; diving; a splash pad; a playground area; zero-depth water features; a sand volleyball area.

Ald. Mike Risko said he noted some discrepancies in the numbers, pointing out that "lap swimming lanes" seemed to get a lot of votes, but was not in the top 10 listed in the presentation. Webking said he would verify the numbers before submitting his final report.

The survey also addressed how people think a new pool should be funded. The leading four selections, in order of preference, were: grants; a capital fundraising campaign; local optional sales tax; property tax.

Ald. Joe Grim said he was frustrated by the fact that two people listed "Use Mayor and Alderman salary" as their preferred method of paying for the pool, saying that was an uncalled for response.

Wepking and Schamberger estimated their final report will be ready within the next two weeks or so. Once the final report is ready, it will be available to the public on the city website.