With the pool season now over in Jacksonville, the Jacksonville City Council is working behind the scenes to get major upgrades funded for next summer. Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard said that recent money from the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s OSLAD program is making funds available to do some much needed updates to the aging Nichols Park pool. “We have an aging pool. We’ve kept it up as good as we can. We see what other communities are doing and we need to step up our game a little bit – make it a little more accessible, get a couple new feature, and probably do a zero entry. We get knocked that there isn’t enough shade out there, so some shading features. Unfortunately, we will probably have to get rid of the high dive for insurance purposes. With a complete facelift, you just don’t see those anymore.”
Ezard talks about some of the cost for the upcoming upgrades. “It’s a $400,000 grant that we went for. We’re probably going to have to, with all that we want to do, put the city on the hook for another $400,000. It’ll be close to a million dollar pool upgrade. We would hope to get the $400,000 [from the state] to get the game started. We’ve gone down the road in the past of potentially building a new pool facility. We estimated that new complex would cost between $5-$6 million dollars and we just felt that this was probably the better way to go.”
Ezard talked about 1 specific new feature that will be coming in the near future regardless of whether receives the grant or not. “We have been fixing things out there as they come. One thing that we are going to do whether we get the grant or not is to make a family entrance so that families don’t have to separate. In the past, the boys would have to go to the men’s locker room and the girl’s to the women’s room. This will make so that families don’t have to do that anymore. We know that members of the community are going to like it, especially if they have small children, because they have asked for something like that in the past.”
Ezard said that the City Council is also awaiting word on another up coming grant from IDNR on funding major upgrades at the Lake Mauvaistarre boat dock. The two grants’ outcomes will likely be heard later this month.