URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Many people celebrate this weekend as the unofficial start of summer. With opening day at the Crystal Lake Park pool, that’s exactly what it feels like to the community.
“This place has a lot more things to do and my house doesn’t have waterslides and stuff,” Brynlee, one of the many kids who attended opening day said.
As summer approaches, those waterslides are finally ready to be enjoyed.
“Things are going great. Everybody’s having a great time, we’ve had a decent crowd coming out even though it’s only 70 degree weather. Water’s on, dump buckets on. All the slides are on; it’s great,” Aquatics Manager Leslie Radice said.
She said last year’s opening weekend was special, but this one is even better. She said it finally feels like things are going back to normal.
“I absolutely love opening weekend every single year. This facility has been open for nine years, and every single opening weekend is fantastic. The sun hits you, you smell the sunscreen, you’re just ready for another whole summer season of fun in the sun and in the water,” Radice said.
For one swimmer, there’s another reason why opening day felt special this year.
“Probably because the school year just ended, so we can see each other again and still have fun,” Lilly said.
Radice said it’s great to see families come back out and enjoy the pool again. It’s the place summer memories are made for many kids.
“It’s my friend Genievieve’s birthday party and I’m really excited to be celebrating with her,” Reagan said.
“My sister is a swimmer and my brother is a lifeguard in training here. We thought he was going to be lifeguarding here so he decided that we were going to come here,” Genevieve, who celebrated her 10th birthday Saturday said.
While Radice said things are going great, this is the first year they’ve had to close the indoor pool during the summer season, and that’s because of a staffing shortage that may other centers are dealing with.
If you’d like to help them out and become a lifeguard, they offer free training classes. And if you missed your chance to get out to the pool, don’t worry. They’ll be open until 7 p.m. throughout the summer. You can find more information on the pool’s hours and lifeguard classes on the Urbana Park District’s website.