You Paid For It: Wood River voters fight, win to save historic community center

You Paid For It

WOOD RIVER, Ill. – Those who voted to save the Round House Community Center in the Wood River are celebrating a victory to keep a historic community center that city officials wanted to make into a recreation center.

The mayor, Cheryl Maguire, and Wood River councilmen were against the measure citizens managed to put on the ballot that called for saving the center built in the 1920s.

Some in the community did not like the $8 million dollars pricetag for a new recreation center which was an idea favored by the mayor and the council.

Even though city officials fought the advisory ballot measure, citizens voted to save the historic center and stop spending on the new rec center on election day by 72 percent.

Bill Dettmers led the campaign beginning in early 2020, and now they are celebrating.

“We’re elated but it also makes us more determined to see this outcome is implemented by the city,” Dettmers said.

Dettmers said he has talked to people who have lived in Wood River all their lives and he doesn’t think they have seen anything like this happen before.

Maguire didn’t like what she was seeing after the vote.

Before the ballot measure was passed, Maguire spoke with the You Paid For It team saying, “I’ve had council members say they’re not really considering this becasue people don’t understand what they’re voting for and their totally confused.”

Dettmers said he is still at least gratified that the people spoke.

“I would not be surprised that they’d continue to move forward with the rec center. If they do, they do so at their own political peril,” Dettmers said.

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