Lincoln Park pool stays empty as city looks to fill budget gap

LINCOLN HEIGHTS — It has been, according to one employee, more than five years since anyone has taken a dip in the Lincoln Park Pool, which is now filled with leaves and debris.  Renderings of a new pool and bathhouse on display in the adjoining recreation center say construction was to have begun in September 2015 – obviously that didn’t happen. But, now there’s an effort to find sufficient funds to get the new pool built.

There has been talk and reports about replacing the pool and bathhouse, both in poor condition, for about a decade. Last September, the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners approved building a new pool and bathhouse, a project that was expected to have cost $7.6 million. But the bids from contractors came in much higher, prompting the Bureau of Engineering to raise the estimated cost to $10.3 million, according to a report from the Recreation and Parks Department. Since then, officials have been trying to find a way to come up with $2.7 million to cover the higher, estimated cost.

On Wednesday, the parks commissioners retroactively approved submitting a grant application to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to cover the shortfall. The project would include a 9,000 square-foot lap pool and 4,300 square-foot bathhouse in addition to outdoor decks, childrens water play area and other features.

The city expects to seek new bids in May but has yet to determine how much it will cost to maintain and operate the pool facilities.

The current swimming pool was built in 1951 while the bathhouse is associated with three other structures built in 1914, according to a technical report.  Despite its age, the city determined the bathhouse was no longer historically significant after several major renovations over the decades.

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