ROCHELLE — Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District Executive Director Jackee Ohlinger said July 18 that numbers are up at Spring Lake Pool this summer.
Last year at this time, attendance numbers for the summer were between 4,500-4,600. This year, the facility is close to the 5,000 mark. Season pass numbers are continuing to be consistent with past years even with all-inclusive passes to The REC Center now including Spring Lake use for the season.
“We've been very happy with those season pass numbers and our attendance,” Ohlinger said. “And it's been pretty mild temperatures for the most part. I think those are pretty good numbers and I'm hoping to have a big week with the heat coming in."
Last year, the facility underwent $620,000 worth of renovations including the addition of a splash pad, patched and repainted pools, new shade umbrellas, an upgraded locker room with LED lighting, 16 new lower entrance parking stalls, new fencing and revamped landscaping.
The park district received a $310,000 grant in matching funds from the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program for the work. It applied for the grant to combine a number of upcoming maintenance projects and getting the funds allowed for the splash pad to be put in as well.
Ohlinger said she loves the new design of Spring Lake. She likes the new parking that makes it easier for parents and grandparents with multiple children and strollers. The splash pad has gotten “a lot of use” and can be sectioned off from the pools when necessary. It’s open for free use when the pool is closed and included in the pool’s use when Spring Lake is open for business.
"In the future, I expect more of the same from Spring Lake,” Ohlinger said. “We invested in it, we've built everything up and it should have a long life. We're hoping we can continue to have this available to the community for many years to come with minimal maintenance."
The last day for Spring Lake this season will be Sunday, Aug. 7. The facility has surpassed its revenue goals in recent years. Not all park district amenities make money and for the past several years it’s been expected by officials that Spring Lake would operate at a deficit between $70,000-80,000. That deficit has been closer to $30,000 in the past couple of years.
“We don't look to be profitable,” Ohlinger said. “We look to provide a service. And with our attendance numbers we've been hitting, we clearly feel good about that investment. I’m really pleased with those recent numbers. Some of the additional improvements in our filtration room, which are more efficient functionings, have really helped."
Ohlinger believes the Rochelle community has noticed the investment in the facility. And the addition of the new aquatic center at The REC has allowed the park district to provide swim lessons year round. With just Spring Lake, lessons would only be held in the summer and classes would always be filled up with parents having a desire for more.
The park district executive director said she’s been “really pleased” with staff at Spring Lake this year.
“For a lot of them, it's their first job, becoming a lifeguard,” Ohlinger said. “Which is such a challenging position. Our experienced lifeguards are doing a great job working with our newer lifeguards and they have a great team aspect. Our managers are doing a wonderful job. I'm just pleased to have the dedication that all of our staff provides to Spring Lake.”
Having a positive environment for Rochelle’s kids in the summer is important to Ohlinger and the park district. She wants staff to be good role models to children in the community, and believes that’s been the case at Spring Lake and The REC.
“It's really important for them to have an outlet like this,” Ohlinger said. “I think we just keep getting better with aquatics in the community. I think that's what Rochelle deserves. We keep investing in our community and in our children and I'm looking forward to the next couple of years and what else we can bring for them."