If there is a pool in your neighborhood that remains closed, you are not alone. And since the sun has seemed especially pissed off this summer, it is almost impossible to look at an empty pool and not wonder why in God's name it isn't full of crisp blue water.
Unless you keep up with Illinois Pool News, you might not know about the Illinois Swimming Facility Act. This new law requires all publicly accessible pools to have larger, unlockable drains, and has resulted in an $8 million renovation of all Chicago indoor and outdoor pools.
The new drainage systems prevent little children from being sucked to the bottom of the pool. However, only a small portion of pool drowning deaths were related to older drains, and most happened in residential pools, for which the law doesn't cover, according to a Chicago Tribune story. Meanwhile, the state only employed two engineers to oversee 4,000 public pools, so be thankful if your favorite pool is actually open.
In Wicker Park, the news is better. Pulaski Park pool opened June 24. It was closed with all other outdoor Chicago pools Sept. 5.
"The catalyst for the work was in order to be compliant with the Illinois Swimming Facility Act, which increases safety requirements," according to Marta Juaniza, assistant press secretary for the Chicago Park District. The pool's drain was replaced, new plumbing was installed, new concrete poured and a new liner installed. So after what may have been a minor facelift, Pulaski Pool looks brand-new.
Other pools made a speedier recovery than Pulaski Park's.
"The Chicago Park District outdoor pool 2012 season kicked off June 15, when we opened the bulk of our 50 outdoor pools," she said.
Four days after the pool opened, it was 103 degrees out.
"We've had about 300 in and out throughout the day today," head guard Adan said then as a horde of children mounted outside the gate waiting for adult lap swim to change to family swim. Adan added that the pool keeps a count to monitor on how many people are there, but haven't had to start a line--yet.