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As part of the planning process for the St. Charles Park District’s 2005 Master Plan, the Park Board of Commissioners solicited the thoughts and preferences of residents through a professionally administered community survey. To respond to evolving needs, in 2007, the District appointed the Aquatics Ad hoc Advisory Committee which met over a series of months to study program and facility needs.
Upon recommendation of the committee, the Park Board sought voter approval of a $25 million referendum which included construction of a swimming pool complex. Voters overwhelmingly approved the referendum in February 2008.
Working with Williams Architects and Williams Construction Management, the Park District envisioned a full-service aquatic facility to accomodate all people of all ages and interests. In addition to offering a state-of-the-art facility, the District provides a comprehensive schedule of swim lessons, lap swim, lifeguard training, special events and a swim team.
The St. Charles Park District recently won an Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) Outstanding Parks & Facility Award for Otter Cove Aquatic Park. This state-of-the-art facility was a new addition to the Park District in summer 2011 and has allowed the District to expand their high quality aquatic programming even further to the people of St. Charles.
Ray Ochromowicz, Director of Parks and Recreation, is thrilled that St. Charles has been honored with this award. “Otter Cove Aquatic Park is a welcome addition to the distinctive and diverse collection of recreational facilities owned and operated by the Park District. While the awards from IRPA are gratifying and will undoubtedly aid in the marketing of the facilities and enhancement of the Park District’s reputation within the industry, it’s really their ability to meet the community’s needs that make them stand out.”
Otter Cove fulfills the District’s long-standing goal of providing St. Charles residents with a fullservice aquatic facility on the west side of the Fox River. In February 2008, voters overwhelmingly approved a $25,000,000 referendum which allowed the District to meet the evolving aquatic needs of St. Charles’ growing community. The addition of Otter Cove rounds out the District’s other water facilities of Pottawatomie Park’s Swanson Pool and the Otter Cove Splash Park, an existing facility now located within Otter Cove Aquatic Park.
The facility features a combination of high-action thrills and laid-back fun. Excitement seekers can splash off two diving boards, race down a body slide or plummet down one of the drop slides. Visitors can relax in the 600-foot long lazy river and enjoy a cruise around the park while encountering water rapids, spray cannons and dumping buckets.
Situated on more than nine acres in the James O. Breen Community Park, Otter Cove opened to rave reviews the summer of 2011. In one season, Otter Cove increased exposure to the St. Charles community by drawing over 120,000 patrons to its facility.
The addition of the Otter Cove has had a positive impact on the St. Charles community. The District is now better able to accommodate the nearly 50,000 residents on both the east and west sides of town. With the addition of the new facility, the District has increased participation in numerous aquatic programs. Swim lesson participation increased by 10%.
A second swim team, The Otters, was added and competes in the Fox Valley area’s summer swim league. This allowed the District to provide a healthy, fun and competitive swim atmosphere for everyone. There was no wait list to be on a swim team in 2011, and participation increased 25% over 2010 participant totals.
Otter Cove has allowed residents to enjoy swim facilities earlier each day. Prior to Otter Cove, the District was not able to open Swanson Pool until 1pm due to the demand of swim lesson programming needed for the community. In 2011, both pools were able to open earlier for open swim since the swim lesson program was slightly expanded and spread out among two aquatic facilities.
Themed around a river otter and his friends, Otter Cove Aquatic Park features something for every member of the family! Otter Cove boasts a 25-yard pool, zero-depth entry activity pool, a shallow pool just for toddlers, and rides that twist, turn, and twirl through water that shoots, sprays, and spins. Exciting activities are sure to appeal to every water enthusiast, from the most energetic cannon baller to the most laid-back floater. Speed down the salamander slides. Enjoy an inner tube ride around turtle creek. Flitter around Dragonfly Den. Hop all over the Frog Bog. Exercise in the Crayfish Canal. These exciting water attractions and green open space offer thrills and relaxation for all ages.