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De Pere Pools' Referendum on Ballot Tuesday

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) - Voters in De Pere will decide Tuesday they want to pay more property tax to support two community pools.  Backers of the binding referendum hope the public is ready to lend their support.

Across De Pere, yards filled with signs of support for an effort to build new swimming pools at both Legion and VFW parks. An idea Judith Graham intends to support.

“Oh yeah, I think most people around here, I see the signs in the front yards, I think most people want it,” said Graham who recently moved to De Pere. 

The group "Save Legion Pool" has been reaching out to the public, educating them on a binding referendum question approved by the De Pere City Council in August. It asks voters if they'd support the city raising the levy limit by $900,000 each year, to build and operate pools at VFW and Legion parks.

“It is going to cost up to $45 per $100,000 of assessed property value,” said Alderperson Jonathon Hansen.

Betsy Hornseth is with the organization which formed a year after the council initially voted to build an aquatic center at VFW Park and to close VFW and Legion pools. A decision the group would not accept and fought hard to change.

“From meetings, to flyers, talking to businesses, talking to alders,” Hornseth said.

Alders like Hansen.

“Really incredible to see how determined and persistent they have been in keeping this issue in the forefront,” said Hansen.

Based on the group's efforts, this summer the council set their own plan aside and instead approved a vote on the binding referendum. The proposal now heads to voters Tuesday.

“I knew it was important to me but I didn't know it was this important to our community,” Hornseth added.

“I'm cautiously optimistic it's going to pass,” Hansen said.

If the referendum does pass - planning for the new pools could take a few years.

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