The park district offered the nearest public pool for summer
swimming as part of its complex southwest of Lincoln on Primm Road.
The park district oversees several indoor and outdoor properties,
including seven parks, eight ball fields, a skate park and a driving
range for public recreation and fitness purposes.
The hub of indoor activity is at the Rec Center. The facility
offers a wide variety of activities, fitness equipment, instruction
and classes, and is where the pool is located. The pool has been a
well-used feature each summer.
The center is primarily supported by property taxes and
membership fees. Both resident and nonresident memberships are
available at graduated rates.
New state laws requiring costly safety changes led to the local
pool and about 500 other public pools in Illinois not opening this
While bigger plans are in the works, as a temporary alternative
this summer, the park district provided daily low-cost youth
programming that incorporated fitness, fun and learning. That
program and other activities were quite popular and will be offered
again next summer.
Below is a summary provided by executive director Marcia
Greenslate on what the park district is planning for aquatics:
In January, the park board of commissioners made the decision to
not open the pool in 2012. The decision was finalized in light of
the declining condition of the 45-year-old facility as well as the
expense of meeting the federal and state requirements of the
Virginia Graeme Baker Act.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Act is a federal law signed into place
after a 7-year-old girl drowned in 2002 after being trapped
underwater by the powerful suction from a hot tub drain. This
legislation requires public pools and spas to be fitted with certain
equipment that is intended to prevent death or injury caused by
entrapment, evisceration or entanglement.
The Lincoln Park District complied soon after notification was
received in 2008.
In early 2010 information was received that new regulations had
been adopted in Illinois and more modifications would be needed to
become compliant by the Oct. 1, 2011, deadline. Lincoln was one of
approximately 500 municipal, park district, school and hotel pools
that did not meet that date.
Following the addition of new regulations in 2010, the park
district began exploring options that would make the mandated
changes economically feasible, while at the same time looking at
options for replacing the existing facility. After many months of
discussion, it became apparent that the only fiscally responsible
decision was to move forward with plans for a new pool.
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The district commissioners could not justify the expense of over
$100,000 to meet the new standards in state and federal regulations
on a pool that continues to deteriorate.
The pool, built in 1967, has pushed the limits of its life
expectancy. The pool has been a challenge to keep operational during
the last few summers as the park district dealt with problems
inherent in a pool more than 40 years old.
It is the intent of the park district to build a facility that
will conform to current regulations, be more accessible and offer
safer use for more people.
The process began more than two years ago. The design has been
completed and debuted at the park district booth during the Logan
County Fair last week.
The new center will feature three vessels of water: a six-lane,
25-yard lap pool; a zero-depth entry area for young children, with
water features and sprays; and a plunge pool for the water slides.
There will also be green areas and seating spaces protected from the
sun by shades.
The cost of the project is more than $3 million.
The park district has applied to the Illinois Department of
Natural Resources for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development
Grant in the amount of $400,000. Announcement of grant recipients is
typically in January or February. Until that time, no physical
changes or work can be done to start the project.
There will be no increase in property taxes for Lincoln
residents. The project will be funded with money currently earmarked
for the pool, debt certificates, external donations of supplies and
services, and hopefully the $400,000 from the grant.
Drawings of the design and more information were available at the
Logan County Fair, where the park district was once again located in
a tent south of the grandstand. The tent was manned from 5 to 8
The park district is very excited about the design of the Aquatic
Center and looks forward to seeing the children and adults enjoying
the water once again in 2014.
Lincoln Park District