Anyone who wants to take one more leap of faith off of the high dive at the Nichols Park pool has just one more day before it is gone forever. Tomorrow is the last day the pool will be open this season as is set to receive a major upgrade next summer.
Parks Site Superintendent Adam Fletcher says with this being the last splash for at least a year, the Parks and Lakes Department has decided to finish the season with a bang, allowing free admission to the pool on Saturday.
“With school starting back up next week we’re losing most of our lifeguards this weekend so that’s why we decided to do a big push this weekend. Being the last day that the pool will be open, we decided to go ahead and have a free swim for everybody and kinda throw in the last chance to dive off of the high dive. Because with these upgrades we will, unfortunately, be losing the high dive”
Fletcher says many are saddened to hear the high dive is going away, however concerns from both the State of Illinois and insurance carriers mean once work begins on the renovations to the pool, the high dive has to come down.
“The state has been kind of leery about it for a long time anyway. There is no grandfather clause when you’re dealing with playgrounds or swimming pools or anything like that. Once the state upgrades its regulations and by-laws we have to abide by those as well.
So it’s been a long time coming with that high dive and unfortunately, it just happens to be this time. We are going to have to take it down and hopefully, we can replace it with something else nice.”
Beyond the already approved upgrades to the pool, which will include a splash pad, zero depth entry, sunshades, and family restroom, items like a zip line or rock climbing wall have also been suggested as a replacement for the high dive.
Fletcher says some of the upgrades to the pool have been needed for quite some time, like improvements to the pool liner, pump system, and bathhouse. “We’re getting to the point where they needed to be addressed sooner than later. So with us throwing this into a larger project, to make a bigger bang for your buck kind of deal, we decided to go ahead and expand our upgrades and try to make the pool a destination again. Get some more people out there so they don’t have to travel to Beardstown or Springfield.”
Fletcher says he has been in talks with several community leaders to come out and take one more leap off the high dive, just as he plans to do on Saturday. He says one or two aldermen may be on hand to take the plunge, but he’s also hoping some continued arm twisting by the community will get Mayor Andy Ezard out to the pool for one last leap.
The Nichols Park Pool will be open from noon to 6:00 pm Saturday. After that, the pool will most likely be closed throughout next year for the upgrades, and reopen in 2024.