Elgin officials: 'No discussions occurring about closing Lords Park pool'

  • Friends of Lords Park Zoo wants people to attend Wednesday's city council meeting to show their support for reopening the pool at the park, which has been closed since 2020. City officials say there are no discussions occurring about closing the pool permanently.

      Friends of Lords Park Zoo wants people to attend Wednesday's city council meeting to show their support for reopening the pool at the park, which has been closed since 2020. City officials say there are no discussions occurring about closing the pool permanently. Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Lords Park pool has been closed since 2020.

      Lords Park pool has been closed since 2020. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/5/2022 4:57 PM

A Facebook post by an Elgin group is causing concern among residents about the future of the pool at Lords Park, but city officials say no decisions have been made.

The post by Friends of Lords Park Zoo is urging residents to attend Wednesday's city council meeting to voice their opposition to closing the pool permanently.

 

The pool, last open in 2019, was closed during the pandemic and did not reopen this year for budgetary and staffing reasons.

Nothing about the pool is expected to be on the agenda for the council meeting. But Terry Gabel, president of Friends of Lords Park Zoo, said he's heard about a possible closure from parks and recreation employees and city council members. He says he wants to get out ahead of it.

"Absolutely, the city staffers have had discussions about closing Lords Park pool," he said. "Even though there's no publicity about it, this is the time to bring it up, before the process gets too far along and people are blindsided."

The city says the future of the pool isn't close to being decided.

"There are no discussions occurring about closing Lords Park pool," City Manager Rick Kozal said.

Council members discussed several options for the future of the pool during last year's budget deliberations. Ideas included turning the site into a skate park, or creating pickleball courts and a splash pad in its place.

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Kozal said the city staff has been researching all the options as part of an update of the parks and recreation department's master plan.

During a public master plan meeting in June, reopening the pool was one of residents' top wish list items.

Gabel said Friends of the Lords Park Zoo, a charitable organization that underwrites the programs at the Tefft Farm, wants to impress upon the council the importance of the pool to the east side community.

"We want the council and city staffers to see these people and see how strongly and how passionately they feel about keeping Lords Park pool open," he said. "A pool has been a part of Lords Park since 1964."

City management says it understands the community's concern and that there is no timeline to make a decision.

"There are improvements and maintenance that needs to be done at Lords Park," Kozal said. "That, combined with the difficulties in hiring summer staff, presents problems going forward. But all of that will be considered as the community comes together to make determinations on the next steps for Lords Park pool."

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