Park district preparing for Spring Lake opening

OSLAD Grant improvements nearing completion


ROCHELLE — If you have any doubt about things getting back to normal, then you need to look into what the park district is doing.

At its regular meeting, the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District board and its executive, Jackee Ohlinger, talked about opening Spring Lake pool and events in the parks along with the regular appearance of a food truck and the attendance numbers at the new rec center.

Being closed for a season, Spring Lake needed some attention, and she expects the repairs to be done before it opens Saturday, June 5.

The park district received a $310,000 from the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program. This is a grant program that was established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1986. The program matches funds provided by park districts, municipalities, forest preserve districts and other local government entities, providing up to 50 percent of the funding.

Ohlinger explained that they’ve already received half of the $310,000 and will received the remainder upon completion of the Spring Lake project.

Although Spring Lake is the community’s only outdoor public pool, there’s so much more to it. It’s built in an old quarry with springs, so issues arise from that. Ohlinger explained that the walls needed to be stabilized with both vegetation and timber.

“The goal when applying for the grant was to combine all upcoming maintenance projects with some added recreational opportunities,” explained Ohlinger.

Other improvements included shaded structures for the pool area, electrical upgrades in the filter room, painting of the property such as the bathhouse, diving board upgrades and improving the splash pad. Because of new fencing, the splash pad will be open even when the pool is not.

In addition, 16 parking stalls were added at the lower entrance. Because of Covid-19, the concession stand will not be able to operate; however, Ohlinger is looking into other options.

On the other side of the lake, a new fishing pier will replace the aging one there now. Presently, Ohlinger has been in contact with the conservation club as they installed a new, cost-effective pier that they recommend.

It’s been wonderful to see the transformation of Spring Lake. It’s a beautiful facility and a blessing to have in our community,” Ohlinger said.

As if that weren’t exciting enough, there are other outdoor activities that are going to happen this summer.

The Rotary Club is planning an event June 12 in both Atwood and Cooper parks. It’ll include bands, local vendors and food trucks as well as events for the entire family. “Our main goal is to get the blood pumping in the community again,” said XX.

Tenth Avenue will be closed between the two parks and there will be alcohol served, also by local vendors. The event will be from           10 a.m. until 9 p.m. “This is not a fundraiser, just an event to get the community back together again,” XX added.

The park district does not assume any liability, the Rotary Club has insurance for the event. All the present board members voted in favor of allowing the use of the two parks.

On a side note, it was mentioned that Fourth of July activities are scheduled to take place in the parks as well.

Another exciting, recurring happening will be Candy Cloud Food Truck will be in Cooper Park every Tuesday this summer. The truck will feature Hawaiian shaved ice as well as other  cool sweets. It’s operated by Alex Edwards, out of Davis Junction, and it’ll be in the park from 4-7:30 p.m. each week.

Edwards told the board he’s fully insured and because he’s been working with the City of Rochelle, he has his permits and a background check completed. He added that his crew will clean up after they close each night.

All the present board members voted in favor of the truck selling in Cooper Park each Tuesday.

Look for further coverage of the park district board meeting in Sunday’s edition of the Rochelle News-Leader.