Photo by John Badman

WOOD RIVER — Work began Monday in Wood River on the construction of a controversial new recreation center on the site where the Wood River Aquatic Center once stood.

On Tuesday, a small front-end loader could be seen dropping equipment, including a section of pipe from the old Wood River Aquatic Center, into a dump truck at the site just north of the Wood River Roundhouse Recreation Center.

Voters in 2020 overwhelmingly passed a non-binding resolution to save the Roundhouse but not to build a new recreation center. Despite that vote, work began Monday to clear an area closest to East Alton-Wood River High School for parking at the new $7.5 million recreation center.

According to a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on the city’s website, $2.5 million of the cost may have come from a PARC grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that the city applied for. The rest of the construction would be paid for using the 1% sales tax approved by citizens in April 2019.

An inauguration ceremony is planned for the month of July.


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