It has been a hot summer, with stretches of sun and high humidity that have made 90 degrees feel like 110 at times.
And throughout this, sadly, the one public outdoor swimming pool in Kankakee County remained closed. Splash Valley Aquatic Park in Kankakee was shuttered for the summer of 2018, just like it was the two previous summers.
Now, the Kankakee Valley Park District has plans to reopen the pool. The district will float a $2 million bond issue for construction and repairs. The bonds will be repaid throughout seven years. The pool should reopen in the summer of 2019 or 2020.
That’s good news. Give a thumbs up to KVPD Executive Director Dayna Heitz, who has had her eye on reopening the pool since coming here in 2016.
The pool had opened in 2004. Money came from an Illinois First Grant. Illinois First was a program conceived by Gov. George Ryan, of Kankakee, back in the days when Republicans and Democrats had a better record of working together.
But the pool suffered from maintenance problems almost from the outset. Now, the reopened pool likely is to look different from the one that closed. No Lazy River. More swimming lanes.
As the pool reopens it will link, too, with the new riverfront bike trail. Kids will have a safer and fun way to get there.
While people have debated where the pool should have been placed, our view is to put that discussion behind us. The real news, the positive news, is that we are going to have a pool once more.