Heat wave increasing visits to Hinsdale pool
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:19AM
HINSDALE — Dry and hot weather is hard on lawns, but ideal for swimming pools.
“Attendance is very, very high,” at the Hinsdale Community Pool, said Recreation Supervisor Kurt Lindemann.
Attendance has been between 400 and 600 people a day consistently this summer.
There have been previous summers when twice as many people came to the pool on a given day, but attendance was not in the 400 to 600 range day after day.
“It’s been like that (almost) everyday because there is no break in the heat,” Lindemann said. “It’s not normal because it’s not normally this hot.”
A more typical summer has a few 75-degree days mixed in, when perhaps only 200 people go swimming, he said.
During the first 22 days in July, the thermometer reached 85 degrees or above on all but three of them. During that period, the high in the Chicago area was 95 degrees or above on nine days, including a consecutive six-day stretch between July 2 to July 7.
The monthly attendance figures have swelled, too, because of the lack of rain. The pool has lost, at most, one entire day to rain.
“That might have happened once,” Lindemann said.
The Parks and Recreation Department has closed the pool for a few hours because of rain, such as July 19, when the lap swim time was canceled. But by afternoon, the pool had re-opened. Still July 19, had the lowest attendance this season.
July’s monthly attendance so far is 21 percent more than last July. And 50 percent more people were at the pool this June than June 2011. The 10,571 people who were at the pool last month are “probably the most in five years,” Lindemann said.
Revenue from the sale of pool passes is down compared with last year, but revenue from paid daily admission is up. Daily fee revenue in May and June combined was $29,706, compared with $22,037 total in May and June last year.
And while the swimming pool is considered the place to escape the hot weather, precautions still are needed to guard against heat and sunstroke. Every hour, for about 10 minutes, everyone under 18 has to get out of the water, Lindemann said.
“It gives kids an opportunity to find their parents, drink some water, re-apply the sunscreen, maybe sit in the shade for awhile,” he said.
Also every hour, when it’s 85 degrees or hotter, everyone has to get out of the pool, so the lifeguards can take a break.
“They get to jump in and cool off,” Lindemann said.
As the summer winds down, and teenage lifeguards return to school, the pool hours are shortened. After Aug. 20, the pool will be open for open swim only on the weekends and on Labor Day.