Photo by Wendy Davis

Onarga Police Chief Doug Brenner holds the many ordinance violations he’s worked on recently.

There’s still uncertainty on whether the Onarga pool will open this year.

It was discussed at Monday evening’s village board meeting.

Trustee Russ Geisler said there’s water leaking between the pool and the liner. It was discovered when the pool was starting to get filled.

“We’re in a dilemma,” he said. It’s expected to be a $100,000 repair. He said the board needs ideas on how to pay for it. “We’re talking serious dollars.”

Village board president Shane Cultra said the money collected from a farm owned by the pool helps support the pool, but the farm doesn’t bring in enough to cover all the pool’s expenses.

He pointed out that a water line at the railroad is costing the village $300,000 to fix. “It’s not like we need somewhere to spend money.”

He said the village is getting an estimate for the repair. “We’ll see what we can do.”

Geisler said, the pool “is an expense, but it’s a big thing for families”.

Trixie Pankey spoke on behalf of several residents who attended the meeting to learn more about what’s going on with the pool.

“I know it’s an expense,” she said of the pool, but it’s a nice drawing card for the village. It can be an asset to encourage new people to move to Onarga.

It’s also an asset to those who already live in town, not just to those who have fond memories of childhoods at the pool.

She said the pool is rented out for parties and events. “It’s part of an awesome park. It’s worth the taxes.” The pool brings people into town and those people shop at businesses in town.

In the meantime, Cultra said fundraisers are needed if the pool does end up getting fixed, whether it’s just patched or completely redone. He pointed out that it’s never been said, yet, that the pool would not be opened this year.

Resident Dave Fink said he remembers it being a community effort in the ‘60s in getting the pool in the first place.

Parks director Stephanie Wilson said she would start a fundraising committee right away. She set up a GoFundMe page during the meeting.

Also at the meeting during the public comments portion Fink approached the board asking if more could be done in cleaning up residences.

He said village could do more in encouraging home owners “to have pride in their properties”. It’s junk in the yard, siding falling of buildings, abandoned cars and uncut grass that’s “eye sores” in town, he said.

Onarga “has a lot of things to be proud of”, said Fink. “Turn this around before it gets to the point where you can’t turn it around. We need to get ahead of the game.” He said if one person cleans up, the neighbors are likely to follow.

He said there could be a pushback from property owners, but there’s be a pushback if the village did nothing.

Police chief Doug Brenner said there’s a folder full of open cases.

Geisler backed Brenner up in saying, “Doug is really pushing on property owners.”

Brenner said the problem is that it’s a long process. It’s verbal warnings, then written warnings, the fines and then the court process. Court alone takes years to get through.

He said he’s been going through sections of town to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and a step is forgotten.

Plus, he said, all this is done as a balance with other police duties.