Why Des Plaines' Iroquois Pool is being demolished -- and what will replace it

  • Enjoyed by swimmers for more than 50 years, the Des Plaines Park District's Iroquois Pool soon will be demolished.

      Enjoyed by swimmers for more than 50 years, the Des Plaines Park District's Iroquois Pool soon will be demolished. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2020

  • A swimming pool and a renovated playground are among the improvements coming to Arndt Park in Des Plaines.

    A swimming pool and a renovated playground are among the improvements coming to Arndt Park in Des Plaines. Courtesy of Des Plaines Park District

  • The playground at Arndt Park in Des Plaines will be renovated as part of an $8.5 million project.

    The playground at Arndt Park in Des Plaines will be renovated as part of an $8.5 million project. Courtesy of Des Plaines Park District

 
 
Updated 8/19/2022 6:29 PM

Fans of Des Plaines' Iroquois Pool can say goodbye to the old swimming hole -- and get their final cannonballs or dives in -- this weekend before it shuts down forever.

The outdoor public pool, 2324 Maple St., is being demolished after more than 50 fun-filled summers. The Des Plaines Park District, which owns the facility, soon will build a new pool at nearby Arndt Park, 1990 White St., as part of an $8.5 million renovation there.

 

A Hawaiian-themed farewell bash for Iroquois is planned for noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. Park board President Erin Doerr promised "a happy time with games and prizes, and a celebration of new improvements to come."

Located at Iroquois Community School on Des Plaines' south side, Iroquois Pool has lasted longer than most public swimming pools of its era, according to the park district website.

Upgrading the pool or building a new one on the same site isn't possible because there isn't enough land to meet modern safety and building codes, such as rules for accommodating people with disabilities and requirements for stormwater detention, officials said.

Designed by architects with Aurora-based Cordogan Clark & Associates, the new aquatic center will have a bathhouse equipped with locker rooms, family changing rooms and a concessions area.

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The pool will be roughly Z-shaped and include six lanes for lap swimming and competitions, a diving well with two diving boards, a shallow play area and more. Shade structures are planned for the pool deck.

As for the rest of Arndt Park, a new athletic court and two new picnic shelters are planned for the 13-acre site, as are renovations to the playground and field house. New walking paths are coming, too, and the parking lot will be enlarged.

"This is going to be a huge enhancement to that neighborhood," park board member Jana Haas said.

Arndt also will be renamed the Arndt Aquatic and Recreation Facility.

The park district received a $7 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help fund the project.

District officials sought bids for the work from contractors this week. Approval is expected in September, and construction could start in October, park district Executive Director Don Miletic said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Officials hope the new pool will be ready by Aug. 1, 2023. Once the excavated pool is filled in, the land will be turned over to Des Plaines District 62.

Although excited about the project, Doerr admitted feeling bittersweet. Iroquois has been her family's go-to swimming pool for years -- it's where her three kids learned to swim.

But any sadness is outweighed by the knowledge that the renovated Arndt facility will be "an amazing destination for Des Plaines residents," Doerr said.

Iroquois Pool will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The daily admission fee is $6.50 for Des Plaines residents or $9 for anyone else. Kids 2 or younger get in free.

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