Memorial Day may be considered the start of summer, but most local pools will remain closed through the weekend.
Unpredictable weather and staffing challenges keep many park district pools closed through the weekend.
One exception is the Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park in Bolingbrook, where indoor pools and slides offer an option when the weather doesn’t match the summer fever that comes with Memorial Day.
The outdoor pools at Pelican Harbor open for the first time this year on Saturday.
The Bolingbrook Park District, aware that many pools remain closed on Memorial Day, even uses the weekend to attract out-of-towners, offering discounted rates at $5 for people outside the park district and $1 for residents.
“We think it’s a great weekend to gear up,” Bolingbrook Park District marketing and communications manager Justin Waters said. “It’s a little bit of a give-back to our community.”
Pelican Harbor also has become a destination point for people outside the district.
“We see that more and more we will get people from Chicagoland to check out our pool,” he said.
The Plainfield Park District also opens its Ottawa Street Pool on Saturday.
But other area pools are scheduled to open later in the week, including Joliet Park District’s Splash Station Waterpark on Friday; Lockport Park District’s Heritage Falls in Romeoville and Chaney Pool in Crest Hill on Saturday; and the Channahon Park District’s Tomahawk Aquatic Center on Saturday.
With forecasts calling for temperatures in the high 80s and 90s through the holiday weekend, park districts that don’t open their pools may be missing an opportunity.
Joliet Park District Executive Director Tom Carstens said he would like to be able to adapt to those years when Memorial Day weekends offer promising weather.
“That’s one thing we’re going to look at for next year is limited opening on Memorial Day,” Carstens said.
But in a business where weather means everything and opening on a cold May day can be a big money loser, many park districts keep the pools closed through the holiday weekend.
“It’s that and staffing, too,” said Bill Riordan, executive director of the Lockport Park District. “You’re relying on high school and college kids, and most of them are still in school.”