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Local News

The Splash Station is closed, but pools and water parks open elsewhere

Splash Station Waterpark is closed in Joliet, but it’s not a trend.

Other outdoor pools and water parks are available, and they don’t face the dire finances that led to the closing of Splash Station.

Summer options range from the Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park in Bolingbrook with several water slides and a lazy river to neighborhood pools such as the Ottawa Street Pool in Plainfield.

It’s too early to tell whether any of those facilities will see more swimmers with Splash Station closed.

“We don’t really check where nonresidents come from,” said Ron Oestreich, executive director of the Bolingbrook Park District. “Also, it’s been wet and cold.”

Wet and cold enough that no one is seeing an increase in swimmers yet.

Season passes for the Lockport Park District, which runs Chaney Pool in Crest Hill and Heritage Falls in Romeoville, are down about 300 so far this year, thanks to the weather.

Lockport Park District Executive Director Bill Riordan expects numbers to even out, noting pool finances have been “consistent over the years.”

The two pools are not moneymakers for the park district, he said. However, Riordan described losses as “minimal” and compared them to the cost of running public parks.

“It costs money to cut grass, too, but it’s a service to the community,” Riordan said of the pools.

The Joliet Park District closed Splash Station to deal with a $500,000 budget deficit in the aftermath of a defeated tax referendum. Splash Station lost $130,000 in 2018, Joliet park officials said.

Park officials elsewhere said their pools and water parks are not money drains.

“Our facility supports itself,” said Angela Brown, facilities manager for the Channahon Park District, which runs Tomahawk Aquatic Center.

Tomahawk Aquatic Center is entering its 26th summer.

“We’re a well-run, established community pool that’s here to serve our community,” Jones said.

Tomahawk also draws swimmers from Joliet, Plainfield, Minooka and other area towns, she said.

The facility sees between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors a year, about half the traffic that would come to Splash Station.

Pelican Harbor drew 150,000 people last year with about 30 percent of the swimmers coming from out of town.

“We have years when we’re very profitable,” Oestreich said, adding that bad summer weather can dampen revenue.

Pelican Harbor is being enhanced with money from a tax referendum that was approved. An island in the middle of its Lazy River will get artificial turf, shady areas, and a picnic pavilion.

The Ottawa Street Pool in Plainfield operates at “close to a small loss to break even,” Plainfield Park District Executive Director Carlo Capalbo said. “Our concern is always the condition of the pool.”

The pool was built in 1981 with a
35-year life expectancy.

Capalbo said park officials have not yet decided what to do when the pool needs replacement or major repairs.

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