Colburn Pool project donor wants his money back

Local News

The largest donor for the failed Olympic-size pool project at Colburn Park in Green Bay says he wants his money back.  He told Local 5’s Kris Schuller he is upset and will sue the city if he is not made whole.

Bernie Dahlin pledged $300,000 to a new Olympic-size pool at Colburn Park. Half of which he gave up front – money spent on project engineering and design.  Then Mayor Schmitt vetoed the $6.8 million project which was passed by City Council – calling it too expensive.

Alderman Chris Wery says Dahlin’s donation was part of $1 million raised by the Friends of Colburn Park Pool.  Donors expecting their money would secure the balance of the costs for the project from the city.

“They were told this project was not going to move forward unless you raise one million dollars,” said Wery.

And six weeks after that project was shot down Bernie Dahlin is still upset. Telling Local 5 Wednesday “If I don’t get my money back, I’m suing the city.”

“I’m not suprised at all,” Wery said. “We have to find a resolution to take care of it.”

Wery was among a group of council members who tried to override the veto. He says the mayor backed out of a pledge and donors must be refunded.

“The mayor is the one that canned the entire thing,” Wery said.

Dahlin says Mayor Schmitt told him that by March 6,  he’ll hear if the city intends to pay him back.  Schmitt says he’s working at finding a solution.

“We’re trying to work on a way to get the money back to them, if that’s what they insist on,” said Schmitt. “That’s not easy and we need to work that out. We are going to talk to Finance and Parks committees and see what we can do internally here.” 

Wery says many other donors feel just like Bernie Dahlin and all should be made whole.

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