Elmhurst Park District aims to open both pools despite challenges
Last week, the Elmhurst Park District announced plans to open the spray ground as well as one of its two pools for the summer season. The decision to open only one pool was rooted in the uncertainty of the pandemic as well as the financial impact opening both would put on the District. East End Pool was initially chosen as it can serve three times as many patrons as Smalley Pool.
Following the announcement though, residents expressed their disapproval of Smalley Pool remaining closed as it tends to attract parents with little ones who take advantage of the zero depth pool and children’s water features.
The subject was brought up for discussion at the Park Board meeting on Monday, February 8, where staff laid out budget numbers as well as the potential challenges involved in attempting to open both pools. While board members acknowledged the difficult job staff will have to safely operate both pools under the strict guidelines mandated by the pandemic, they reached consensus to proceed in that direction.
“Staff is up for it, but it will be very challenging,” said Executive Director Jim Rogers, “There are a lot of unknowns and this entire effort hinges on being able to adequately and safely staff and operate both pools. This summer at the pools will be unlike any other and we ask everyone to be patient as we navigate our way through it.”
District staff will now begin the process of recruiting lifeguards and admissions staff. Training will be provided, and interested applicants can apply online here.
All three facilities – East End Pool, Smalley Pool, and the spray ground at The Hub - will require reservations, and residents will have the ability to reserve a time slot one week in advance. Nonresidents can make reservations three days in advance. The number of reservations allowed will depend on capacity limits required by Restore Illinois and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and, as a result, far fewer swimmers will be able to use the pools than in past summers.
The plan is to open the spray ground on Saturday, May 29, East End Pool on Saturday, June 12 and Smalley Pool on Saturday, June 19.
Proposed hours for East End Pool are 5:30-9:30 a.m. for morning swim and 12:00-7:00 p.m. for open swim. The morning session will be broken into one-hour time slots and the afternoon session will be two-hour time slots with half hour breaks to allow staff to properly clean and disinfect the facility.
Proposed hours for Smalley Pool are 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. The spray ground will be open for two-hour blocks from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hours may be adjusted as necessary as more becomes known about conditions this summer.
Pool passes will not be sold this summer, and residents who purchased a pool pass in 2020 will receive a household credit.
These plans are subject to change based on Restore Illinois and IDPH guidelines. For more information and to stay up-to-date, please visit www.epd.org.