Midlothian pool saved in time for heat wave
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com June 18, 2012 6:20PM
With a barrier surrounding the closed junior pool behind him, Tristin Brown, 4, of Midlothian, jumps into the waiting arms of his mother Karen in the main pool at the Splish-Splash Pool in Midlothian, Illinois, Monday, June 18, 2012. A broken pipe under the junior pool has closed it for repairs but the main pool is open. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
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Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The pool season runs through Aug. 19.
Events: Swim lessons will be held as scheduled and party rentals are available.
Information: Visit www.midlothianparkdistrict.org, call (708) 371-6191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: July 20, 2012 6:17AM
With temperatures topping 90 degrees this week, Splish Splash Pool in Midlothian figures to be a popular place.
But residents had to sweat it out, because just a few weeks ago, the park district was prepared for a very dry summer.
Pool members were told to find other pools, and employees were told they’d have no summer jobs, because a mysterious leak was draining the pool, 4518 W. 150th St., at the rate of an inch per hour.
“We lost 40,000 gallons of water. That’s significant,” Midlothian Park District Director Evelyn Gleason said. “Our staff isolated a problem in the filter pit and figured the leak was there. But we were still losing an inch of water an hour.”
One plumbing company said the main drain was leaking, and major repairs would cost $35,000 and force the pool to be shut for the summer.
“That’s not a good thing to hear,” Gleason said Monday. “We decided, on May 31, that we would close the pool. We were supposed to open June 2. The worst part was calling in 27 kids and tell them they would not have jobs.”
The pool was drained. The Midlothian Park District prepared to refund $20,000 in pool dues, and park districts in Blue Island, Oak Lawn, Alsip and Tinley Park offered Splish Splash patrons resident or reduced rates to join their pools.
The other park districts also “really came forward,” Gleason said, offering a few jobs.
But on June 4, resident Mary Chiz called Gleason and said, “We’re not going to let this happen,” Gleason said. Chiz referred Gleason to Mark Smith, of M&R Plumbing in Crestwood, and he and a friend from Cassidy Excavating took a closer look.
Gleason said they determined the leak was not in the main drain, which helped a park district foreman discover the leak was from above-ground pipes from the junior pool to the pump house.
On June 8, with the blessing of Mayor Terry Stephens, the Midlothian Fire Department filled the pool with 175,000 gallons of water in just 4.5 hours — a task that normally takes two days.
The pool opened for business June 10.
“We haven’t repaired the collapsed pipe yet, so the junior pool is shut down. The big pool and the baby pool are both OK,” Gleason said.
A section of the main pool where the water is 3 feet deep has been roped off to “replace” the junior pool.
Meanwhile, other park districts are offering full refunds to those who joined their pools but want to return to Splish Splash Pool.
Smith said the collapsed line that caused the problem can be rerouted or replaced.
“I’m just glad we could help out. You don’t want the pool shut all summer,” he said.
With all that, the park district’s troubles weren’t over. A broken water main for the bath house and concession stand was discovered on June 12, but it has been replaced at a cost of $10,000, which is covered by insurance, Gleason said.