Park Ridge parks officials test waters for Centennial Pool overhaul
Swimmers splash around Centennial Pool during the 2010 outdoor swim season. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:29PM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge Recreation and Park District officials are hoping to revive an aging community pool so that it avoids the fate of another aquatic facility demolished last year.
Members of the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District Board recently directed Executive Director Gayle Mountcastle to “begin the process of putting together plans for a replacement of Centennial Pool,” Mountcastle said.
A team consisting of Park District staff, two Park Board commissioners and members of the Aquatics Task Force are working with consulting firm Stantec to develop different concepts for the pool, located at Centennial Park, 100 S. Western Ave. The concepts will then be shared with the Park Board, possibly in the fall, Mountcastle said.
“It’s in the consultant’s court,” she said of the proposal.
Plans call for removing the existing 25-meter, six-lane lap pools and creating a new pool configuration, the director said. The separate wading pool will remain.
Mountcastle explained that the group is looking at new water features and pool shapes, though maintaining an area for lap swimming is “definitely” being explored, as well. In addition the capacity of the pools could be increased, which would require a larger locker room area, Mountcastle said.
Anticipated costs will likely be shared when the Park Board receives the potential concepts.
In May, Stantec representative Jim Maland shared with the Park Board an analysis of the condition of Centennial, as well as the Park District’s other pools. According to the report that was presented, Centennial’s lap pools as they exist today require an estimated $1.4 million worth of improvements. The report noted that, among other issues, the underground steel pool shell, installed in 1954, is warped and in “poor condition.”
The lap pools last underwent a major renovation in 1983.
The last pool to be considered for replacement due to its age and condition was Oakton Pool, 2500 W. Oakton St. That pool was closed in 2011 and later demolished after referendums seeking to replace it with new, multimillion-dollar facilities — paid for through property-tax increases — were rejected by voters.
In Centennial’s case any replacement of the lap pools will be done through a non-referendum bond issue, Mountcastle said.
“Our goal is to get the plans together, get approval and open a new pool in 2014,” she added.
Keeping Centennial open during the 2013 swim season is also a goal, Mountcastle indicated.