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To Open Or Not To Open? Different Suburbs Have Different Plans For Their Public Pools, Splash Pads

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — The staff at the Centennial Aquatic Center in Orland Park was getting the pool ready this week – even though the public water park was empty.

“Like a day like today, we’d have 1,700 people here,” said Mayor Keith Pekau.

As of right now, Pekau said he plans to open up in late June with limited capacity, as long as COVID-19 cases stay flat.

“In fact, (the Illinois Department of Public Health) was out here today to inspect some of our construction, and they reiterated that Phase Four is when we’ll be allowed to open our pool,” he said.

As CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported Thursday morning, the mayor said he is now looking into different ways to limit the crowds at the pool. He said there is no plan in place yet, but there will be capacity restrictions.

McNicholas: “There’s some people that might see you guys are getting ready to open here and they might say, well, you know, a kid might get here and they might bring it to grandma and grandpa. is it really worth it? What would you say to those folks?”

Pekau: “So we can have cases happen anywhere. And at this point in time, at the end of the day, it’s a virus. This virus is going to spread, and we can’t stop operating our lives. Everyone cares about peoples’ health but we still have to have a life as well and we don’t shut things down for other viruses either.”

Down in Crown Point, Indiana, there are no pools run by the city. There is a popular splash pad, and Mayor David Uran plans to open that up around July 11, when Lake County heads into Indiana’s fifth phase.

Uran said visitors can bring their own chairs to try to social distance, and there could be capacity restrictions there too.

“Obviously, if we get to the position where, what you saw like over the beaches over the weekend here and other places, that’s not what we’re trying to promote here,” Uran said. “We’re trying to promote a safe environment for our families and our children to come here.”

So Crown Point and Orland Park may be opening up, but every other town we reached out to said they’re either not sure yet, or they’re keeping the pools and splash pads closed.

Naperville is hopeful it can open its beach and splash pad this summer. Northbrook plans to remain closed, but it could reopen if things change.

Elgin plans to keep its outdoor pools closed, but open indoor swimming when safe.

And the Fox Valley Park District plans to stay closed. The same goes for Highland Park – no plans to open this summer.

Neighboring Deerfield has two pools it is planning to open.

Source: CBS Chicago

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