By SAMANTHA PIDDE
After weeks of discussion and consideration, the City of Mount Carroll will be opening the community swimming pool Friday, July 3.
During the Tuesday, June 23, Mount Carroll City Council meeting, held via Zoom, Mayor Carl Bates gave an update on the Covid-19 pandemic and Illinois moving into Phase 4 of the governor's plan on Friday, June 26. Bates said a representative from the Carroll County Health Department has told him nothing in the Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidelines says the pool cannot open.
According to Phase 4 guidelines, outdoor recreation is allowed in groups of no more than 50 people. As of Thursday, June 25, city officials understood the pool could have no more than 50 people on site, but were still waiting on additional direction from the county health department.
Council members last week discussed if the city could financially support opening the pool and if enough staff would be available. YMCA Camp Benson, which provides most of the pool's annual revenue, is not open this summer.
Ald. Joe Grim, a member of the Recreation Board, has previously said the pool loses money annually, with the city's general fund supporting the facility. He estimated that if the pool admits 50 people each day and is open for approximately 60 days, depending on weather, it will probably only cost the city $4,000.
"We're opening up," Mayor Bates said, adding, "and we know we're going to take some on the chin.”
Bates and the council agreed to keep pool rates the same for the 2020 season.
Grim assured the council that pool manager Stephanie Hughes is confident the pool will have adequate staffing. The council approved hiring Hughes as manager; Keeley Brinkmeier and Claire Mitchell as assistant managers; and Abby Merema, Orion Sedivy, Emily Mueller and Natalie Hughes as lifeguards.
City Attorney Tim Zollinger cautioned the council to make sure pool staff not only followed all required safety procedures, but documented them as well. He and Bates noted that people going to the pool will have their temperatures taken. Zollinger said documenting all of this will protect the city in the case, which he said was unlikely, that an outbreak of Covid-19 happened and was traced back to the pool.
Grim suggested the city investigate purchasing wipes for the pool as well as free-standing hand sanitizer stations. He noted he has a contact for such purchases and said he will get prices for the mayor to consider.
During the discussion, Water and Sewer Supt. Bill Zink updated the council on work that has been done to the pool while it has been closed. He said his crew replaced part of the pool deck and railing around the pit and patched some cracks in the cement. He said the deck has been pressure washed, but needed to be painted last week.
Zink said he could begin filling the pool as soon as Friday, June 26. However, it would need time to reach the required water temperature. The council agreed on a July 3 pool opening date.
The city park also is open to the public.