Nichols Park Pool Upgrades Move Forward; City Mulls Going Larger with Renovations

By Benjamin Cox on August 10, 2022 at 4:16pm

The Jacksonville Parks & Lakes Committee heard a detailed presentation and viewed a rendering of what the future of the Nichols Park Pool might look like on Monday night.

The City Council had been discussing going large with renovations at the pool to make it more attractive and to keep up with neighboring communities who have recently updated their own municipal pools.

Ward 2 Alderwoman Lori Large-Oldenettel, who chairs the Parks & Lakes Committee, says the consensus from the committee is to move forward with the existing upgrades proposal: “We do want to move forward with the splash pad, but we do want to be very aware of adding future amenities that we might want to include into the pool. If we get all of the permitting finished, we hope to have the pool closed down next summer, so there would be no public pool available to the residents of Jacksonville next year. Then, we would hope to open up the following year with a brand new, fun pool for families and people to use that following year.”

Some on the committee requested information about bigger amenities besides a splash pad, like a zip line or a rock climb wall that would entice older children to come to the pool. Greg Hillis, engineer of Benton & Associates, told the committee that if the committee could imagine it, engineers could render it – depending upon how much the city would like to spend above their current OSLAD grant and already committed funds to the current pool upgrade.

Oldenettel says she really appreciates one of the upcoming features in the renovation: “As a mom at one point having young children, I know one of the things that I appreciated when I visited other pools was the zero-depth entry. That’s one of the things that’s been incorporated that will happen on the west end of the pool, and a shallow area for children to play in and for moms, dads, and families to be able to interact and play with their kids in shallow water. Also, we will have sunshades to help protect us from the sun when we don’t want to be out in it all the time. Of course, the splash pad will be pretty amazing for children to use.”

Oldenettel says the high dive will be removed in the renovations permanently because of insurance purposes. Other current features like the slide and the low dive will remain. Oldenettel says any future amenities added to the pool will be focused in on junior high-aged children who enjoy coming to the pool in the summer.