Special Note Regarding the Freedom Park Children’s Waterpark
The Berwyn Park District will not open the Freedom Park Children’s Waterpark for the 2019 summer season.
First, the typical outdoor pool season in Northern Illinois is 90 days, roughly Memorial Day until Labor Day. In recent years, local elementary school districts have been letting out for the summer into June and local high schools and colleges have been starting back in mid- August. The impact is that users are not available until almost mid-June and certified lifeguards leave or start school in mid-August, reducing the pool window in 2018 to only 70 days.
Secondly, the Cook County minimum wage ordinance enacted in 2017 has effectively caused the District to increase high school and teen age wages to complete for skilled labor to serve as certified lifeguards. The projected pool labor cost for 2019 is $51,000 and covers required staffing, training, and certifications.
The Freedom Park Children’s Wading Pool is approaching its 20 year milestone and long term maintenance and required upgrades are estimated at more than $34,000 for items such as turbine pump maintenance, valve and gasket replacement, equipment painting, Funbrella fabric replacement, and upgrades to the main drains for compliance with the Virginia Gram Baker Act. The estimated expenditures for repairs, staffing, and operations for 2019 is approximately $108,000 which is offset by estimated revenues of $16,000, creating a $92,000 deficit for the pool and a $70,000 deficit for the Recreation Fund.
While the Board of Commissioners considers the Freedom Park Children’s Waterpark a service to the community, todays financial realities do not provide for it. The Board regrets having to close the facility for 2019, but it is the fiscally responsible action to take. The District will be addressing some of the maintenance issues and will monitor the situation with the hopes of reopening in 2020.