Committee recommends aquatics center, towing fees

Apr. 23—DANVILLE — Along with a new water slide and other upgrades comes a new name for the city pool.

The Danville Aquatics Center at Garfield Park will be well worth the wait, said City Engineer Sam Cole.

"Be excited," Danville Public Works Director Dave Ruwe told the Danville City Council's Public Services Committee Tuesday night.

He'd seen the blueprints for the improvements and when he recently toured the site, he said he thought, "this far exceeded my expectations."

"It really feels like you're in a resort and not in the middle of town," Ruwe said.

Cole said they are still "optimistic" the new aquatics center will open around May 31, but that also depends on an Illinois Department of Public Health inspection next week and if the staff and everything is ready.

"This is a completely new facility that's being inspected for the first time," Cole said.

Ruwe said they plan to have a soft opening, internally, for the staff to practice operations and have aldermen and others have a tour of the upgraded facility.

Ruwe and Cole said if they can open the doors and will the city be ready to open the doors are two different things.

Ruwe said they want to do it well.

The Public Services Committee Tuesday night recommended approving rates for the 2024 season of the Danville Aquatics Center at Garfield Park.

The proposed daily pass (per person) fee is $8. A punch card for 10 daily passes (per person) is $70. Non-profit organizations (such as the Boys & Girls Club, per person) is $4. Children page 3 and under will be free.

Former fees for the municipal pool were: daily admission of $1.50 for children with a paid adult or $4.50 per person.

The city has set up a new enterprise fund designated for aquatics center income, including the entry fees.

Ruwe said they compared fees at Champaign and Urbana aquatics centers and this proposed daily fee matches those centers.

However, Ruwe said the Danville aquatics center won't have residential and non-residential rates like the Champaign and Urbana pools have.

He said those rate differentials could cause debates and more work for the staff.

He said they want to encourage people throughout Vermilion County and further away to visit the Danville aquatics center.

"We want to involve as many people as possible to enjoy this place," he said about encouraging families.

Pool parties won't be offered this first season. There's already a lot of learning to do by staff this first year without the added pressure of pool parties, Ruwe said.

The city may bring the parties back. But there won't be swimming after dark.

The city didn't have enough money for lights for nighttime swimming. Cole said that would cost a few hundred thousand dollars more.

The pool is expected to staff about 11 lifeguards and three to four office staff.

The full city council will act on the aquatics center fees on May 7.

Also Tuesday, the committee recommended increasing wrecker and towing service fees and approving an agreement for towing service.

Danville Police Chief Chris Yates said there's been no tow fee increases since 2009.

"They're limited in what they can charge a person in tow and traffic crashes," Yates said.

He said it's been an unreasonable market for the tow companies operating for several years. He added that the city met with tow company representatives with Coffman's and Carnaghi's which alternate months in working with the police department on calls, but nothing was changed with the fees. The city also looked at fees in other cities.

The schedule of rates and fees proposed for emergency wrecker and towing services provided for the city: Tow Rates — Flatbed: Light-Duty (was $80) $125; Medium-Duty (was $100) $175; Heavy-Duty (was $190) $275. Storage Rates — Outside: Car (was $20.00 per day) $35 per day; Truck (was $40 per day) $70 per day; Trailer (was $60 per day) $90 per day; Inside: Car (was $30 per day) $55 per day; Truck (was $60 per day) $90 per day; Trailer (was $90 per day) $110.00 per day; Mileage Rate for towing outside city limits — Light-Duty (was $3 per towed mile) $4 per towed mile; Medium-Duty (was $3.50 per towed mile) $5 per towed mile; Heavy-Duty (was $4 per towed mile) $6 per towed mile.

Also, after hours release fee: (was $35) $70 minimum; Ball-Joint Block/Skate Loading $30 per use; Personal Property Storage $30 maximum; Clean-up time and materials will be charged for actual expenses (was $20 minimum) $35; Administration Fee for nationwide VIN search $25; and Administration Fee certified mail $35.

Also at the meeting, the committee talked about increased fires with 34 already this year (there were 53 last year), with one fatal fire, and the need for working smoke detectors, and a possible arsonist(s) for vacant building fires. Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said city officials can't discuss ongoing investigations but the city has some suspects and there may be some in custody.

The committee also heard that the city's Community Day on July 14 at downtown's Temple Plaza has been named by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee as "Mary Thompson's Community Day." Thompson has been a longtime committee chairwoman.

In other reports, the committee heard more about the city's new brand identity and style with its new logo; Saturday's Neighborhood Association breakfast with about 80 people expected to attend at Harrison Park Clubhouse; the city's Neighborhood Association matching grants program for groups to apply for funding from the city for projects; and May's Sports and Brews First Friday next week that will include a zip line downtown and karaoke.

In other business, the committee recommended:

* Amending city code pertaining to taxation to add the new liquor license classifications; and also pertaining to compensation for municipal employees for a vacant information technology position that will have a salary a few thousand dollars above what had been approved, according to City Comptroller Ashlyn Massey.

* Authorizing a budget amendment to fiscal year 2024-2025 for the Information Technology Division.

* Approving an intergovernmental agreement with Aunt Martha's Health & Wellness to be used as an Alternative Comprehensive Community Based Youth Service to work with the Danville Police Department on missing children, runaways, or other circumstances with children, one recently involving an overnight watch, according to Yates.