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Splash Station refunds today, future undecided

Park district eyeing future options for Splash Station after 2019

Crews at Splash Station stack several tubes May 31, 2017, in preparation for the summer season in Joliet.
Crews at Splash Station stack several tubes May 31, 2017, in preparation for the summer season in Joliet.

The Joliet Park District is refunding money to people who bought season passes for 2019, but the future of Splash Station Waterpark next year has not been decided.

“We’re looking at different options,” Park District Executive Director Tom Carstens said.

Carstens is not saying what those options might be. However, the district has not ruled out reopening Splash Station if its budget improves.

How that might happen short of voters approving a tax referendum that was turned down by a 70% margin
April 2 is unclear as well. The district put out an official notice that Splash Station is closed for 2019, while leaving options open for the future.

“No decisions about the operation of the facility after the 2019 season have been made,” the statement said. “The Park District has commenced a wide-ranging study of options for the facility’s future, and further information will be made public when possible.”

The district issued the statement Wednesday, the day after the Joliet City Council refused to consider a $120,000 subsidy for Splash Station.

The water park operated at a $130,000 loss in 2018, Carstens said, and the district is looking for $600,000 in budget cuts or new revenues.

More than 100 people already hired as seasonal employees for the summer at Splash Station have been notified that the jobs will not be there, Carstens said.

“It’s a tough situation for the Park District,” he said. “The youth we hired for the staff – it’s the hardest part of it.”

Carstens said the district also will consider reducing staff positions associated with Splash Station but added, “We haven’t determined that.”

People who bought season passes for Splash Station this summer are getting refunds, he said.

Sixty-seven events that already have been scheduled for the water park have been canceled.

Meanwhile, park officials are looking for pools and water parks outside Joliet Park District for one of the day camps it will run this summer, Carstens said. A second day camp will use the indoor pool at the Inwood Athletic Club.

The indoor pool at Inwood is available to the public.

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