A plan to renovate Nichols Park Pool is back on the table. Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says that the plans, dating back to 2019 to upgrade the facilities is now moving into the next phase.
Ezard says that the city is set to engage a local engineering firm with plans to move forward with possible upgrades after a vote by the City Council coming up Monday night: “Benton & Associates is the lead engineer on this, and they are going to help us. We are going to enter into an agreement with them as far as what we are doing. I think there will be some more discussion in part of the council, because this grant was for $400,000 and then the city matches another $400,000. However, when this grant was evolving, prices have gone up. Maybe this $800,000 project isn’t going to be $800,000. It might be over $1 million. Well, that maybe means the city has to kick in some extra funds if the council wants to go that direction. I think that since we’re going to do it, we need to do it right. I would be in agreement to kick in the extra money in whatever is, or to add features that may have not been talked about 2 or 3 years ago but now are more prevalent, and we should consider those.”
In the original plans, the city was expected to use an OSLAD grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to upgrade the gutter system, installing a new pool deck, replacing the surge tank, installing a new zero-depth entry and deck area. Talks of adding a child’s play area have also been discussed as an addition to the facility.
Ezard says the work on the pool is a part of a broader goal to update Nichols Park as a destination: “We are trying to keep Nichols Park relevant…We’ve got to bring it back where it’s a destination. It’s just kind of a stale park, and I think we are taking those necessary steps to keep it going.”
The authorization of the pool improvements is one of the items up for an authorization vote from the City Council for their monthly meeting Monday night at 6PM.