In a splash of good news, the Park District of Oak Park will reopen swimming pools to the public this summer. Due to safety complications as a result of COVID-19, the pools did not open last summer, to the chagrin of many.
“I remember people really, really missed them,” said Diane Stanke, park district customer service director.
Rehm Pool, 515 Garfield St., will open to swimmers Memorial Day weekend, with the pool at Ridgeland Commons, 415 Lake St., opening a week or two after, according to Stanke.
Pool pass sales begin March 13, with resident passes costing $50 and non-resident passes $63. Rates will go up May 1 to $63 and $75 for residents and non-residents, respectively. Pool activities include lap swimming and public swimming, as well as special sessions reserved for adults and seniors only. The park district will also have special pass holder events and a limited amount of swimming lessons.
To safely reopen, the park district is following guidelines from the state of Illinois and lifeguards training has been adapted for COVID-19.
“We are confident we can run a safe pool operation this summer,” said Stanke.
Swimmers must reserve visits, which are limited to an hour and a half. The premises will be closed for 30 minutes between sessions for cleaning and to disinfect locker rooms, restrooms, chairs and high touch surfaces. Guests can sign up for sessions by daily admission or using their pool passes.
“We believe we can serve a significant number of pool visitors,” said Stanke.
In an occasion that guests cannot maintain six feet of distance from each other, the park district will require the wearing of masks. However, masks will not be required when in the pool. No concession services will be offered this pool season.
With mountains of snow left on the ground, swimming might feel a bit like a pipe dream, but the park district is looking forward to once again providing an opportunity for Oak Parkers to take a refreshing dip.
“We’re really excited to have a pool season this year,” said Stanke. “Not having one last year was really strange. There’s going to be a lot of happy people in Oak Park.”