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Cary Residents to Vote Tuesday on City Additions, Improvements

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CARY — Voters in Cary head to the polls Tuesday to decide a $149 millionbond referendum.

Four bonds are up for a vote, includingroadways,water upgrades, andparks. But perhaps the most controversial item at issue is $10 million for a newaquatic center.

Some say an aquatic center is not necessary because a lot of people already belong to pool clubs. Others in town insist the indoor public pool is needed.

"If we had a community center pool, we would definitely swim," says Janet Johnson-Whittle.

Johnson-Whittle lives in Cary but takes her son to Raleigh's Pullen Aquatic Center once a week during the winter.

She's not the only one from her town going out of town to swim.

"There have been days when both pools were full of people from Cary and nobody from Raleigh," says Johnson-Whittle.

Johnson-Whittle is among the supporters of one of Cary's most hotly contested bond issues: the proposal to build a $10 million facility similar to the Pullen Aquatic Center.

"If we had a swimming pool in Cary, we would use it. We have to pay extra to swim here because we're not a resident of Raleigh. It gets expensive," says Johnson-Whittle.

Aquatic center supporters face a sizeable, though quiet, group of opponents, including Stan Norwalk. Opponents say the government shouldn't be in the business of running a pool.

"We need government to do things like schools and roads, essential services like that," says Norwalk. "But this isn't an essential service."

He says Cary residents already have indoor and outdoor swimming options.

"I find it hard to believe that 40 percent of the people in Cary don't have the funds, the money, the wherewithal for membership in a pool," says Norwalk.

"Cary is not full of people that all belong to country clubs. There's a lot of regular people like us," says Johnson-Whittle.

Cary residents voted down an aquatics center five years ago by a four to one margin.

Polls are open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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