Sleepy Hollow Pool Decision

After over 60 years of use by generations of families, the Dundee Township Park District Board of Commissioners voted to permanently close Sleepy Hollow Pool during the October 18th meeting.

While this decision was difficult, it comes after years of studies, surveys, feasibility reports, and recommendations. We understand that a pool is a community benefit, and this decision by the board was not made lightly or hastily. We extend our appreciation to the community for all of your input and fondness for this community pool, especially over the recent months.

As difficult as it is to close this chapter, we are excited by the opportunity for the community to come together to plan the future of aquatics for Dundee Township. We look forward to planning alongside you in this next chapter. In November, we will begin the process of forming a Citizens Advisory Committee to help determine the future aquatic needs of Dundee Township.

This committee will bring their thoughts, opinions, and ideas on features and amenities they want to see and support. In November, we will release more information regarding how you can be a part of the Citizen Advisory Committee. An interest form is being developed and will be shared on our website, email, social media, and at our recreation centers. Stay tuned for additional information.

We look forward to planning, alongside you, the next chapter of aquatics here at the Dundee Township Park District.

Update (11/20/23): The Dundee Township Park District is forming an Aquatics Citizen Advisory Committee to help guide the future direction of aquatics needs for the Dundee Township community. We encourage those interested in completing our committee interest form to be included in the selection pool. The deadline to submit the interest form is Monday, December 18.

Update (1/5/24): During the Sleepy Hollow Pool informational meeting on September 27, the board decided that it would be beneficial to share more information on park district finances. The board of commissioners and staff would like to invite the community to attend a Dundee Township Park District financial review. 

The financial review will be part of the board meeting on Wednesday, January 17, at 7:00 pm at the Rakow Center inside the Adult Activities wing. The information shared will give a top-level view of park district finances to help the community better understand the financial laws and statutes affecting Illinois park districts. 

Topics to Include: 

  • Resident Tax Bill
  • History of EAV (Equalized Assessed Valuation)
  • Tax Cap Law
  • Fund Balance Policy
  • Aquatic Subsidies History
  • DTPD Capital Projects 

If you cannot attend the meeting, the information presented will be available on our website soon after the meeting. Should you have any questions before the meeting, please contact Dave Peterson at davepeterson@dtpd.org or (847) 428-7131 x4001. 

Update (1/24/24): The financial review presentation that was part of the board meeting held on Wednesday, January 17 can be found - BUDGET AND FINANCIAL REPORTS .

Update (3/4/24):  The Aquatics Needs Assessment and Community Engagement Services RFP proposals will be presented at the board meeting on Wednesday, March 6, with our recommendation in the hopes of board approval at the March 6 meeting or by the March 20 meeting. Once we begin the process with the chosen third-party consultant, they will help us review the Aquatics Citizen Advisory Committee applications and select the appropriate number for the committee.


Sleepy Hollow Pool

For over 60 years, Sleepy Hollow Pool has operated as an outdoor aquatic facility. This past spring, during the April 19 board meeting, the decision was made by the Board of Commissioners to keep Sleepy Hollow Pool open through the 2025 season, provided the integrity of the pool shell allows. Since that decision, the pool shell has continued to deteriorate and lose water around its perimeter at an escalated rate.

A board meeting was held on September 27, 2023, where Park District staff shared the following information about the pool's current condition, addressed the community's growing concerns, toured the aquatic facility, and provided the public an opportunity to ask questions. This meeting was the first step in getting community input regarding future aquatic needs within Dundee Township.

Facility Usage
  • Open Swim
  • Swim Lessons
  • Water Fitness
  • Lap Swim
  • Swim Team
  • Summer Camps (50 participants, twice a week)
  • NISRA (Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association)
Infrastructure Challenges

Original pool shell is 60+ years old

  1. Life expectancy of an outdoor pool shell in the Midwest is 50-70 years.

Pool shell is crumbling

  1. Water loss in 2022 was 2.7 million gallons
  2. Water loss in 2023 was 3.8 million gallons (40,600 gallons/day)
  3. In-season pool shell repairs are continuous
  4. Environmental concerns exist with water and chemical loss
  5. Continuous heating of newly added fresh water is occuring

Pool Shell PVC

  1. Ineffective due to poor integrity of walls and floor

(The photo above is a pool that used a PVC pool liner.)

Engineering Reports

ECS Midwest
Pool Shell Chloride Testing - 2016

  • National Standard
  • Sleepy Hollow Pool had 5 of 10 samples > 300 ppm (Range from 307 ppm “ 848 ppm)

FGM Architects
Core samples taken of pool floors and walls - 2017 

  • Two locations had concrete found below the recommended strength of 3000 psi (1910 & 2710)

WT Group
Opinion of Life Expectancy - 2022 

  • Remove and replace the pool. The pool is 60+ years old and is coming to the end of its lifespan. A typical outdoor concrete pool lasts around 50-70 years. 

OR

  • Leave as-is and perform the maintenance as previously done. If done, it is assumed the pool shell will be structurally viable for the next 1-3 years. 

National Aquatic Standards

(Recommended Pool Surface Area)

Demand Base Aquatic Area Calculations for Current Population
Estimated DTPD Population per Strategic Plan 64,279
Maximum Aquatic Peak Attendance (3%)  1,928
District Wide Capacity Requirements
(80% of Maximum Peak)
1,543
Predicted Water Surface Area (15 sf/user) 23,141 NRPA Standard
Existing Aquatic Area Calculations
Dolphin Cove Family Aquatic Center 9,914
Sleepy Hollow Pool 6,720
Rakow Center Indoor Pool 4,926
Rakow Center Diving Well 1,400
Total Current Aquatic Square Footage 22,960 DTPD Existing
Possible Future Aquatic Area Calculations
Dolphin Cove Family Aquatic Center 9,914
Sleepy Hollow Pool 0
Rakow Center Indoor Pool 4,926
Rakow Center Diving Well 1,400
Total Current Aquatic Square Footage 16,240 With No Sleepy
Hollow Pool

DTPD Aquatic History

Haeger Pool
  • Haeger Pool opened on June 12, 1955
  • During the mid-seventies, the Park District purchased two air structures, which were used to enclose Haeger Pool and some tennis courts at Randall Oaks Golf Course. These structures were used through the spring of 1983.
  • This pool closed in the early 1980s due to age and life expectancy coming to an end.

Thresher Pool
  • In 1962, voters approved a bond issue of $225,000 to build Thresher Pool. They passed the bond issue by a vote of 1,396 to 563. The Besinger family donated the land for the pool, which opened on July 2, 1963.
  • This pool closed in the early 1990s due to age and the opening of Dolphin Cove.

Sleepy Hollow Pool
  • Privately built in the early 1960s
  • In 1972, the Park District purchased the Sleepy Hollow pool for $120,000. Private interests had operated this pool.
  • A zero-depth addition and stainless steel gutters were added in 1986
  • A new $238,000 filtration system was installed in 2006.

Rakow Center Indoor Pool
  • The now indoor pool at the Rakow Center was opened in the Fall of 1989.
  • In 1992, the pool was enclosed, thus making it useable year-round.

Dolphin Cove Family Aquatic Center
  • In 1993, the Park District completed the construction





Board of Commissioner Engagement

  • In 1986, elected officials committed to replacing concrete gutters and updating to a zero-depth area to meet the demands of our users
  • Early 2000s “Decision was made to extend the use of Sleepy Hollow Pool and invest in a new Filtration System -$238,000
    • Meanwhile, the original pool shell's age had reached 40 years
  • 2015 Board directive to staff “research a replacement aquatic facility on the west side of the community
  • 2019 Strategic Plan
    • 2022 Mid-Term Initiative: Research the feasibility of adding an aquatics facility on the west side of town, given that Sleepy Hollow Pool is beyond its useful life.
  • November 2022 Board Meeting “request for an update on Sleepy Hollow Pool condition and findings
    • Engineering reports
    • Water Loss
  • April 19, 2023 Board Meeting
    • Tour of pool shell and deck
    • Revisit engineering reports and updates
    • Board informed decision made to keep swim pool open through 2025 season if pool shell integrity allows
      • This aligns with engineer report's disclosure of a remaining 1-3 year pool shell

Next Steps

  • Board directive to staff: communicate to residents the board decision made and next steps
    • Sleepy Hollow Pool information meeting after the 2023 season
    • Engage community partners (swim teams, School D300, pool users/families)
    • Investigate debt service costs for a new pool
    • Location assessment
    • Consideration of type of aquatic amenity (aquatic facility, lap pool, splash pad, etc.)
    • With no monies available, determine if there is an appetite for a referendum
    • Citizen Advisory Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is Sleepy Hollow Pool only open through the 2025 season, provided the integrity of the pool shell allows?
A: Our consultants, W-T Engineering, have taken a close look at the integrity of the shell and provided an opinion that the pool shell will be structurally viable for the next 1-3 years. 
Q: Why can't the existing pool be fixed?
A: The walls are crumbling due to the 60+ year age of the swimming pool.
Q: What will happen to the existing site after the pool closes?
A: This still needs to be determined. The Dundee Township Park District does not have monies reserved for any type of construction of a swimming pool.
Q: Will you be adding other recreational aquatics in the community?
A: Dundee Township community engagement will occur to address this.
Q: How much was the cost for the water loss in 2023 and 2022?

A: 2023 - $29,388 (One more invoice for the month of September awaits) 2022 - $23,597

Q: If we only keep it open for one more year, is there something else that can be done to save the pool?
A: The engineer's opinion tells us that the original pool shell cannot be saved.  60+ years of the shell use is very unusual even with good maintenance practice.

Q: Why has there been a band-aid put on this problem and not addressing the root of the issues? 
A: The maintenance staff has done an excellent job annually of doing preventative maintenance to the pool shell and filtration system.  The swimming pool is exposed to Midwest Region weather and the freezes and thaws that occur annually.  

Q: Why not close it now and rebuild it now? Why wait two or more years?
A: The staff and board are assessing this right now.  The Park Board has asked staff to bring a recommendation for the 2024 pool season to the October 18th Board Meeting knowing that 3.8 million gallons were lost in the 2023 season. The Park Board has also asked staff to develop a schedule of community engagement meetings and topics to the October 18th Board Meeting.

Q: How are kids going to ride their bikes and get to a west-side aquatic facility?
A: The location of all of our facilities is taken into consideration when it comes to accessibility for all 64,000 residents in the Dundee Township community.  Our community is spread out over 36 square miles and many Villages.

Q: Can you do naming rights of the pool to help fund the project?
A: The Park District does have a Naming Rights Policy in place within the Administrative Policy Manual.

Q: If there is an aquatic facility at RORC, will it be an outdoor or indoor pool?
A: This has not been determined and will take community engagement.

Q: What is the timeline from the time the pool closes until we have access to a new pool
A: That has not been determined as many factors go into making a decision to build a replacement aquatic facility such as funding, location, type of aquatic facility and more. 

Q: Why do we not have money to replace the pool and put it somewhere else?
A: There are no monies set aside to build a swim pool.  The Park District has many facilities and with this comes many infrastructure needs needing attention.  These are reflected in our 5-year capital plan. The Park District will be scheduling a community engagement meeting to discuss park district finances and the different options available to park districts for funding large capital projects.

Q: Where is the money coming from for a future west-side facility?
A: There are no monies set aside to build a swim pool.  The Park District has many facilities and with this comes many infrastructure demands needing attention.  These are reflected in our 5-year capital plan.

Q: Why can't we find a way to find funds with the same effort you will do to construct a west-side facility?
A: The updated cost estimate for a west-side aquatic center was received to give the District an idea of the cost in today's financial climate. The District currently does not have the funds to build a swim pool in any location.

Q: Have any other alternative sources of funding been explored?
A: No grant exploration has occurred for a swim pool facility at this time. A concept including cost, location, among other information, is needed before pursuing grant opportunities.

Q: How was the RORC facility built? With what funds?
A: Build America Bonds were used to build the Randall Oaks Recreation Center facility back in 2011.

Q: Can we utilize the infrastructure bill?
A: The Park District is not able to utilize the infrastructure bill to build a new swim pool. The Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan funding is for roads, bridges, railways, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities like the state crime lab and verteran's homes.

Q: What do we know about the stability of the land, what is the integrity of the soil?
A: Engineering company came out assessed the soil in February 2022. Everything is fine today but moving forward it is a concern.

Q: Would we sell the pool back to the Village of Sleepy Hollow?
A: This would require discussions with the Park District board and Village of Sleepy Hollow board. 

Q: What did the PD pay for SHP from the private club?
A: $120,000 was the amount paid by the Dundee Township Park District to acquire the Sleepy Hollow Swim Pool, bathhouse/building.

Q: When was the last update to SHP?
A: In 2006 a $238,000 filtration system was installed along with additional monies being used to repair the pool deck.

Q: What is the realistic expectation of Sleepy Hollow Pool reopening in the Summer of 2024?
A: Staff is completing its assessment and will approach the Park Board with a recommendation at the October 18th Board Meeting.  The 3.8 million gallons of water loss during the 2023 season are of great concern.

Q: What is the estimate to replace SHP?
A: To replace the existing swim pool with a facility of similar size and amenities on the west side of our community has not been assessed. 

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