MOUNT CARMEL — Mount Carmel Mayor Joe Judge and City Commissioners officially confirmed on Monday — the Mount Carmel city pool will not open its doors for the summer of 2020.
With time ticking on pool season, this move was a widely expected move.
Council members discussed concerns over the guidelines released by the Illinois Department of Public Health for pool reopenings in the state and the financial feasibility in reopening the city pool for potentially just a month.
Restrictions discussed would have limited to just 50 pool goers per day, with a set spaced distance swimmers would have to adhere to. The pool’s most likely reopening date would have been mid-July at the earliest, as a reopening wouldn’t be possible prior to Phase four of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan, likely to come at the end of June.
These restrictions not only would hinder the experience of swimmers, but also hamper the city’s profitability in opening the pool. With such limitations, they’d likely be operating with a marginal loss — which would be devastating as they’re already losing thousands of dollars each week in tax revenue due to state restrictions.
While residents won’t be able to enjoy the pool for this year, it ultimately could be a blessing in disguise if things go as planned for the city.
The council had previously discussed renovations — namely a splash park— that may come to the pool later this year irregardless. Other renovations include an expanded lounging area and a new fountain.
Judge confirmed the city’s pursuit of these renovations via an Oslad Grant or a Fast Track Grant. The Oslad Grant would cover 50% of the cost of renovations, while the latter would cover 100% of the project.
For Judge and the council, they stated they’d rather spend the money it’d take to reopen on the coming renovations — if needed — rather than possibly a month of the pool being open.
“That way we invest in something that’ll be there... Engineers were out there today surveying.” Judge said.
The city should receive word pertaining to their status on either grant in the coming weeks.