Soaring temps prompt families to take plunge into local pools
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News June 19, 2012 9:18PM
The hot weather on Tuesday made Festival Park in downtown Elgin a popular place to cool off from the heat. June 19, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Watering limits, and other steps to handle heat
The National Weather Service says 12 days have hit 90 degrees or above so far in 2012.
The hot weather already is having adverse effects — on grass and gardens, and on the water table. West Dundee on Tuesday announced that as of Wednesday, a water use restriction level of “Yellow” will be in effect for all village water users.
“Level Yellow means that odd/even outside watering is in effect, corresponding with odd/even-numbered addresses,” according to a village statement.
Those whose addresses end with an odd number may water plants and yards on odd-numbered days only, and even numbers on even days.
Outside watering includes lawn sprinkling, irrigation systems and filling of swimming pools, officials said.
Also Tuesday, the Kane County Health Department issued a reminder about tips for people to stay safe and comfortable outdoors during hot weather:
Wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation.
Stay well-hydrated; always consume an abundance of liquids in the summer.
Exercise or do other strenuous activities when heat and humidity are lowest, usually early morning and late evening.
Rest in cool, shady places frequently. When hot, cool down; go indoors, drink cool liquids, enjoy air conditioning for a few minutes, or take a cold shower.
Eat light, heart-healthy foods to replace minerals and nutrients that may be lost.
Watch for those at greatest risk such as the very young, the elderly and those with health conditions. Also, be aware medications can react differently in heat and may pose a greater risk of heat-related illnesses.
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:26AM
ELGIN — Parents and children are figuring out, one way or another, how to get out of the house and keep cool in the scorching heat this week.
Some of those parents are taking families to Elgin’s two outdoor pools. Others are gathering at downtown Elgin’s Festival Park water feature, or heading to local “swimming holes” on creeks that feed into the Fox River.
It is definitely early in the year to see so many families at Elgin’s two pools at Wing and Lords Parks, said Greg Bruggeman, aquatic supervisor for the city.
“Most of the time we will have a nice entry into the summer and average 30-40-50 kids a day and rise up (numbers) in late June” to about 600 people a day at either of the two pools, Bruggeman said.
Then, by the end of the summer swimming season, the numbers will start dropping down again. “It is a nice bell curve for us,” he said.
Not so this season, however. While there has been a few 70-degree days since the pools opened on June 2, there have also been several scorchers in the 90s — and with that comes immediate demand for pool time, he said.
“We hit the ground running,” On Friday, it was “busy and hot,” and Monday was hopping, too. An estimated 700 people were at the Wing Park Pool and 600 at the Lords Park Pool that day.
“We are busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said.
Even with strong numbers early in the year, there is still room for families to come out and be outside in the water, he said.
Wing Park can hold 1,510 people, and Lords Park is designed for 955, Bruggeman said.
The most people he ever recalls being in Wing Park’s pool is 1,300 people, he added. “We don’t have 1,510 in the water at one time. That would be a little uncomfortable to have them all in the water.”
But with its grassy area and pool deck, there is plenty of space for families to spread out and enjoy the pool, he said.
He recommends families get there early for the noon pool open swim, so they can pick their chairs and spots on the pool decks, Bruggeman said. Coming with unopened bottled water and ready sunblock is also important to make it a nice outing, he said.
Residents can purchase passes that are good throughout the summer or pay as they go. Members of the Centre of Elgin city recreation center can upgrade their pool memberships to include the indoor or outdoor pools.
People who don’t want to swim with children around — those who want to swim laps — can also use the outdoor pools from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Swimmers must be 18 or older and must be there for lap swims, he added.
A number of families and upwards of 100 children did their cooling off Tuesday at the Festival Park water fountain. That water feature is more like running through a sprinkler than jumping into a pool.
Cindi Cook of the Dundees had her 4-year-old grandson Bryan playing in the water. He likes the park because of the trains — running over every time he heard one pass by — and it’s convenient for her, Cook said. While Tuesday was the first day they’d come out to the park, she said, last summer they often biked down from the Dundees to go to the park — located on South Grove Avenue along the Fox River.
Samuel Gomez and the four adults and six children he was with said they often go to Festival Park because it is free — and they can bring their own food and drinks with, too.
“It is a lot cheaper than the pool,” Gomez said. The family parks their chairs under some of the trees along the river, where they get a nice, cool breeze while the children play.
On Thursday nights, there are movies at the park, and an ice cream vendor stops on other days.
“There are always things to do here, and it is free,” he said.