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With cool weather lingering, swimming pool and golf course numbers are down in Elgin area

The Lords Park Family Aquatic Center in Elgin was closed June 13 because of cooler-than-normal temperatures. Swimming pools, golf courses and other businesses with outdoors activities have suffered because of the rain and temperatures.

The outdoor pools in Elgin and St. Charles were closed Thursday despite it being a sunny day. The reason? The unseasonable cold that kept the high from going above 67.

“The temperature has to be 68 (for the pool to open),” said Steve Gard, senior recreation supervisor of aquatics for the city of Elgin.


Wednesday wasn’t much better, with both pools closing early because of rain — another persistent problem in May and June.

The cool, wet weather has taken a toll on Elgin-area swimming pools, golf courses and outdoor sports businesses, which depend on warm, dry, sunny days to bring people out.


“They look outside, and they may see the sun,” said Alex Weidner, aquatic supervisor of the Otter Cove Aquatic Park in St. Charles. “But then they get hit by the wind and suddenly have no desire to get in a swimsuit.”

Gard described the second week of June — the first one in which all Elgin-area students were out of school — as disappointing. “Not a great week of summer,” he said.

People want to use the pools, as evidenced by increased attendance numbers at the indoor pool at the Schock Centre of Elgin, Gard said. Anyone with outdoor pool passes can use it, he said.

The situation was considerably different last summer, when warm temperatures came in with a blast on Memorial Day weekend and stayed, Weidner said.

“I think last year was more of a fluke,” she said, noting the 2017 season also started rainy and chilly.

Cancellations and delays are not only a problem for those who want to swim; they impact those working at St. Charles’ two outdoor pools, Weidner said. Lifeguards and other personnel lose pay when they can’t work, she said.

At the Villa Olivia Golf Course on the Bartlett/Elgin border, attendance is down, Superintendent Peter Pope said. From when the 18-hole course opened in late March through the end of May, about 2,000 rounds of golf were played — 1,000 less than normal, he said.

That’s the lowest it’s been in at least four years, Pope said. Weather-related problems plagued the spring — including a pair of April snowstorms — and things haven’t gotten much better heading into June, he said.


Heavy and consistent rainfall has led to muddier greens, delays in the grass mowing, standing water and flooding, Pope said. Only recently have they caught up on their mowing schedule.

“We don’t feel like we’re alone,” he said. “All the golf courses are in this together. Hopefully we’re turning the corner around.”

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Mill Race Cyclery began renting canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and other water sports gear this week. Normally it would have started weeks earlier, owner Bruce Heidlauf said, but the Fox River’s water levels have been too high.

“When you miss the whole Memorial Day weekend, that’s a really big opportunity we missed out on,” Heidlauf said.

On the plus side, the inability for people to go out on the river has helped boost bicycle rentals, he said.

“If it’s in the low 70s, it is a nice day for riding bikes,” he said.


The downside has been the most ideal days for biking this spring have been weekdays, when most people are at work, Heidlauf said. On a nice Saturday or Sunday, they will rent all 80 bikes they have available at their Geneva store and their rental service at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, he said.

There’s a pent-up desire for summer weather to start, Gard said.

“Those few warm days we have had — they were busy,” he said.