You might not have noticed with all of the April-like weather we’ve been having the last couple of weeks that Memorial Day weekend is less than three weeks away.
That weekend, of course, is the traditional start of the pool season over at Riverside Swim Club, 100 Bloomingbank Road. And if you’ve swung past the club lately, you’d have noticed it’s still an active construction site.
Still, said the club’s board president Chris Porter, the target date for opening remains Memorial Day weekend or as close as they can get to it.
“We’ve got a path to open this pool, if not Memorial Day weekend, then right on it,” Porter said. “We don’t really need anything to break for us, except for the Illinois Department of Public Health permits and our fine Riverside village.”
Construction on two new pools, a new 5,000-square-foot clubhouse with a wraparound raised deck and new a sport court has been under way since the village approved the club’s plans last August.
Years in the planning, a core group of about 400 families made the roughly $5.8 million club renovation possible with their support in the fall of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed and altered the pool season in 2020, threw the renovation into question early on, but by summer it was clear the project would happen.
Porter said that the club’s membership is now at capacity at 550 families, with 12 on a waiting list. The sight of the new clubhouse behind the construction fencing and the club’s updates on their Facebook page, with construction photos juxtaposed with renderings of the finished product likely prodded some who remained on the fence.
“I also think our members did a really good job pushing the story out to their friends and welcoming people that came into the neighborhood and telling them, ‘Hey, look, you better do this.’”
The club also sweetened the pot in February by offering new members a $500 discount to join.
“That may have helped,” Porter said.
The snow and intense cold snap in February shut down construction for a few weeks, but club officials have sought to keep things on schedule by approving their general contractor, Helios Construction Company, to work seven days a week.
“We’ve got basically a non-stop construction site for the next four weeks,” said Porter during an interview at the club last week.
While the club will likely need to require reservations for families to use the pool early on – everyone will want to christen the pool, and summer as soon as possible – Porter said it’s also likely that the club won’t have to institute the kinds of restrictions they did last year during the pandemic.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last week that the state may move to Phase 5 of Reopen Illinois – a full reopening – as soon as June 11.
“If we can get through that first big crush I think we’ll hopefully get to a place where we don’t need to monitor, [where] we’re just monitoring bath load like we would in a normal pool summer,” Porter said.
There may be some fine tuning to do once members begin coming in and using the pools and the clubhouse. The club has hired a couple of experienced aquatics managers to help bolster management, said Porter, but with a new clubhouse building and new facilities outside, there may be tweaks.
“We’re likely going to need some time after we’re open to calibrate everything but we’re going to get water in the pool in a matter of two weeks,” Porter said. “So, it’s happening.”