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Lake Bluff Pool Attendance Down 40 Percent From 2010

Park district officials attribute the decline to the loss of the toddler pool, which was closed last season.

officials are confident that needed repairs to the Lake Bluff Pool, and Aquatic Facility will increase its use, which has seen a significant decline over the past several years.

In 2010, 13,390 swimmers used the pool during its swimming season from June through August – a 30 percent decrease from two years prior in 2008, when the pool had an overall attendance of 18,838.

The most significant decrease came in 2010, coinciding with the absence of the tot pool, which was closed that summer due to maintenance issues.

“We have a lot of young families that used the tot pool,” explained Dave Peterson, director of facilities and recreational services for the . “People wanted to give it (the pool) a try, but just weren’t comfortable bringing young children without a pool that has zero depth.”

Zero-depth pools also are called beach-entry pools, because like a beach, one can walk into the pool without the use of a ladder or steps.

This past season saw a continuation of the decline in the pool’s attendance. By the end of July, the park district recorded attendance of 6,769 — a 40 percent decrease from 2010.

The decline in attendance equates to a reduction in revenue to the park district, with earnings from the swimming season dropping from $100,000 in 2009 to $64,000 this summer.

Park District officials believe several factors besides the tot pool can be attributed to the user decline, including the significant rainfall during 2011’s summer months, and the downturn in the economy.

However, district officials believe that many residents are now using aquatic facilities in neighboring communities such as Libertyville and Highland Park.

“We’ve heard they’re going to other neighboring pools,” said Peterson.

The question is, will much-needed repairs to Lake Bluff’s aquatic facility bring swimmers back?

“Absolutely,” Peterson said, citing data collected from several focus groups that were conducted in 2010, .

“All of the plans for the pool include a zero-depth entry,” explained Peterson. “It’s a big attraction for the families that have little children.”

According to Peterson, the decline in attendance is primarily due to the loss of those young families. Attendance of lap swimmers, and families with older children has stayed the same.

In recent weeks, park district officials have taken steps toward alleviating the issues facing the aquatic facility by .

They expect to receive both estimates in October, and then will hold meetings with the community to help determine the next steps to take regarding the future of the aquatic facility.

According to Ron Salski, executive director of the , they will monitor the condition of the aging pool closely and later will determine whether or not it will open again for the 2012 swimming season.

“Our plan is to open up next year, but we still have to re-evaluate the financial impact of this season,” he said.

LAKE BLUFFER DUFFER August 26, 2011 at 03:33 PM
This is why they should just eliminate the pool altogether. These are hard times and this is rather crazy to spend money on a luxury like this. Give the money back to the taxpayers that you would spend on the pool and shut down the pool.
Jim Powers August 26, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Would any one you miss having a pool, or are you wlling to travel to Highland Park or Libertyville instead?
John August 26, 2011 at 03:58 PM
How about having a choice to join a Swim Club like The Lake Forest Club? Save my tax dollars and shut down the pool. Then let residents decide if they want to spend the $$ as individuals versus the town making decisions for all.
LAKE BLUFFER DUFFER August 26, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I agree with John. If you want a country club, join one. Don't tax me anymore... The Village and the Park District are completely out of control.
Kate Amaral August 26, 2011 at 10:06 PM
I would desperately miss the pool. I believe, besides the loss of the toddler pool, another reason for the lower attendance was because many families joined clubs since the pool's future is in doubt. We are indeed lucky to have this facility. Having an affordable pool in our community increases the attractiveness of Lake Bluff to potential home buyers. It certainly was a factor for us when we were in the market. Not all of us can afford country clubs but certainly want our kids to know how to swim, especially growing up near a lake. People who need water therapy or swim train really enjoy having the pool as well. It is also a great community gathering spot for many. What about the possible loss of revenue generated by the summer camps which offer swim lessons? I believe 75% of those using the summer camps said the swim lessons were a big factor in choosing the LBPD camps over other options. If the camp attendance decreases, that is not only revenue lost but also jobs lost as well. If a buyer were choosing between a home in Lake Forest vs Lake Bluff, the taxes will still be higher in Lake Bluff but at least we have great amenities to show for it, like a great pool and not a big pit of cement. As I'm sure no one will wont to spend the money to safely demolish the pool either.

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