No timeline for whether, or when, a new community pool could come to Sycamore. Cost could exceed $16M, officials say

Sycamore Park District’s Executive Director Janelle Bailey says district survey shows residents want more of a waterpark facility than a community pool

The Sycamore public swimming pool will be assessed this summer for existing structural, mechanical, functional, operational and infrastructure problems.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore Park District officials said this week there’s no timeline yet for whether, or when, a new community pool could come to Sycamore, though a new aquatic facility could cost upwards of $16 million, officials said.

Last month, Sycamore Park District announced its 40-year-old pool would close for good because of exorbitant repair costs and the facility has operated at a loss for a decade. If a new pool is built, the community would prefer a waterpark-styled facility, Park District’s executive director Janelle Bailey said.

Bailey said the park district asked Sycamore residents what they wanted out of repairs and upgrades to the aging pool through surveys in 2019 and 2020. Survey results showed that residents wanted a pool facility that district officials said wouldn’t be doable on the current pool’s grounds.

“And basically the results from that indicated that the community wanted more of a waterpark as a community pool, which we couldn’t build in that location due to IDNR [Illinois Department of Natural Resources] restrictions because it’s in a flood plain,” Bailey said.

This means in order for the community’s desires to be fulfilled a new plot of land will need to be identified, Bailey said. The land also would need to be bought before construction on new aquatic infrastructure could be started. Bailey said the park district already has started searching for usable land options.

A new pool facility would include significant costs, however. Bailey said a future aquatic facility remains a priority for the district’s strategic plans in the next few years.

That new public pool could cost upwards of $16 million, she said.

“So we obviously don’t have that in our budget at this time ,and due to the age of pool and failing infrastructure it was costing more to try and repair and try and run the pool than to close it,” Bailey said.

Bailey credited the park district’s board of commissioners for what she called the board’s fiscal responsibility in making the tough decision to close the community pool.

“The park district – if possible – should be able to provide swim lessons and a pool space for the community in our summer months,” she said.

Considering the loss of a community amenity that supported generations of swimmers, Bailey said she understands much of the negative public response to the announcement,

“I think that people are disappointed but most people understand why we closed it,” Bailey said.

Sycamore Park District officials had warned the community as far back as 2020 that the community pool wasn’t in a condition to last much longer.

Officials are looking at survey results to help steer future decisions.

“The questions we had on our survey for 2020 were indicating people were interested in a lazy river and just like more features than we could currently put in at our current pool,” Bailey said.

As things stand, there is not a timeline for a new community pool in Sycamore.

“We would have to find property first and then go from there,” Bailey said.

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