MOUNT CARMEL — While the city pool will likely receive a facelift in some facet — whether via the Rebuild Illinois Grant or potentially an Oslad Grant — the indoor pool at Wabash Valley College appears to be in dire need for repair.

Mount Carmel Mayor Joe Judge discussed the topic of the college’s pool at the June 29 council meeting, and expanded on rumblings he had heard of the pool closing.

According to Judge, some had reached out to him, pleading for him and the council to switch their application for a grant over to Wabash Valley College’s pool — but Judge balked at such a notion, citing it wouldn’t even be feasibly possible.

“The college pool is in the same situation our pool is in,” Judge explained. “The pump system is shot and the filtration system needs updated... We don’t have that amount of money. We can’t change our grant request because then it’ll be kicked out because the deadline’s already passed.”

Judge expanded by saying estimates have indicated the college pool requiring around $750,000 in needed repairs. While in a financial bind with this year’s likely budget shortfall due to COVID-19, coupled with a handful of other projects at the moment, the possibility just seems impractical.

“As much as we see a need for an indoor pool, the city just does not the ability to take on such a project by itself.” Judge stated.

It’s unclear if this means the college pool will close for good, or if the college will seek fundraising for the necessitated repairs.

As far as the city pool, it’s remained closed for the summer of 2020, but is likely to receive renovations through the course of the off-season to add in a new filtration system, a new pump, a new fountain, a splash park, as well as an expanded pool seating area.

The total estimate, as reported by Judge, amounts to $1,126,000. If the city’s successful in their pursuit of the Rebuild Illinois Grant, 100% of project would be covered. The Oslad Grant would mean the city would be responsible for nearly 50% for the project — or just north of $560,000. Official word on the city’s grant request should come in late-July.

Further City Park renovations coming?

Mount Carmel’s City Park adjacent to West Berwick Golf Course has already drawn considerable attention with the addition of the new Pickleball courts — which Judge says has drawn national attention.

Judge reported a national Pickleball magazine’s interest in chronicling the new courts, which according to Judge, were labeled as the best in the Midwest.

“If you haven’t been out to see them, they’re beautiful,” Judge remarked of the courts. “The city of Mount Carmel wants to thank the Mount Carmel Pickleball club for all of their work and everyone who’s donated to this. There’s people out there until 10, 11 o’clock at night every night. There’s potential once everything’s done that it could be put in a national magazine just because it is supposedly from what I was told today, it was like the best Pickleball tournament courts in the Midwest. They want to do a full on article once we get the parking lot done. Rick Andrews and everybody who’s worked hard on that, my hat’s off to them because it’s a huge asset to the park and to the community.”

While the courts have been the buzz around town and are the newest addition to the park, it appears more renovations will be coming.

Council members discussed coming renovations to the park, including new basketball courts, remodeled bathrooms, additional playground equipment, and more.

Judge fell shy of offering an official timeline for the project, but said they’ll officially announce specifics once it’s underway.

“We’re working with several groups on possible improvements to the main city park. The possibilities are basketball courts remodeled, new, real bathrooms in the city park, some playground equipment and some other items. Once we fully get some commitments and projects underway, we’ll announce how we’re tackling it, where everything’s coming from and who’s responsible for what — if they want to be announced.”

In other park related news, the council also moved mowing at the park to be on Thursday and Friday for the future.

Car Show coming to town on July 25

The July 25 weekend is looking like an action packed one in Mount Carmel.

For one, the city will host the third of four Mini Ag Days celebrations on Friday, July 24. Now, there’ll be a car show hosted in Mount Carmel on July 25.

Council members approved the show, which was suggested by resident Boyd Chamberlain to City Administrator Rudy Witsman.

The show, which will begin at 6 p.m. and run until 9 p.m., will mandate the closing of the blocks of 3rd and 5th Streets. There will be a band playing from 6-9 p.m., playing everything from 50s to 90s music.

“He’s done all of this just trying to help the community, trying to bring something uptown, something around for everyone.” Witsman said.

Permanent outdoor eating coming to Vick’s

With state mandated closures, many restaurants were unable to have customers eat inside of restaurants for upwards of two months.

To help some of the struggling restaurants, Judge had offered outdoor dining tables provided by the city from the city park to these restaurants, to circumvent the restrictions and expand their business from strictly carry-out.

Though restaurants in the state are now allowed to offer dine-in, the outdoor eating option seems to have become a popular one.

Vick’s Bread and Brew requested to continue offering outside eating at the restaurant located on Market Street. By doing so, Vick’s would be using a portable fence — which would block some of the sidewalk on Market Street — but would remain up only during operating hours.

The council approved Vick’s request, allowing the restaurant to continue to offer outside dining for the foreseeable future.

Current hours of operation at Vick’s Bread and Brew are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

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