It's time to refresh Carpentersville aquatic center, if grant funding comes through
Dundee Township Park District officials are hoping to breathe life into an aging Carpentersville aquatic center with new waterslides, play features and other amenities.
But the proposed $2.9 million project depends on a state grant that would cover 75% of expected costs, Deputy Director Ross Bertone said.
Constructed in 1993, the Dolphin Cove Family Aquatic Center has seen a significant decline in its teen population and a roughly 30% drop in overall attendance in the past five years, Bertone said. Some 22,700 visited in 2019.
Improvements planned for the facility at 300 N. Kennedy Drive would cater to a variety of ages in an effort to attract larger crowds and drive up those numbers, he said.
"Back when it was built 27 years ago, it was new and exciting to the community," he said. "We'd like to bring some of that newness back."
A concept plan presented last week calls for adding two lily pads and a waterfall in the existing pool area, creating cabanas and additional shade throughout the grounds, and removing two slides -- one dolphin-themed, the other yellow -- for which annual maintenance has become excessive, Bertone said.
In a separate area of the center, the district would construct a new "spray play zone" featuring a small tower with slides and other kid-size water amenities. "Not a traditional splash pad," he said.
Additionally, two new slides geared toward teens and young adults would be added at the far end of the facility, beyond the sand play area. One would be a body flume slide and the other a speed slide.
To help fund the proposed improvements, the district is applying for an Illinois Park and Recreational Facility Construction Program grant that would cover three-fourths of the total cost. The park district would then be responsible for $732,000 of project expenses.
If the state funding comes through, the design work likely would begin later this year, with construction starting after the 2021 season, Bertone said. The park district hopes to complete the improvements by the summer of 2022.
The park district would not move forward with the project if the grant is not approved, he said, though officials would consider making smaller improvements that fit within the budget.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," he said.