The popularity of the newly renovated Morris pool has caused parking problems in lower Goold Park.
Jim Hitchcock, one of the city pool managers, told the Morris City Council during its regular meeting Monday the pool has seen a dramatic increase in swimmers since it opened this summer for its first full season with its completed renovations.
He passed out copies of photos to the aldermen and mayor to illustrate the lines of vehicles parked in lower Goold Park.
“The photos don’t really capture the problems down there,” he said.
Hitchcock said recently a child was almost hit while walking near the pool due to the congestion.
He asked the council to consider looking at parking solutions for the aquatic center.
The council decided the topic would be on the agenda for the next Street and Alley Committee meeting.
The pool was originally built in the 1920s and received several updates. Renovations included a new liner, new diving boards, removal of the baby pool and expansion of the pool to the south with a zero-depth entry, a new filtration system, and a splash park for young children, as well as water slides.
The final result of the pool ended up costing more than $2 million.
This summer’s street maintenance plans include expanding the south parking lot some in the southeast corner, said Mayor Richard Kopczick.
There is also space on the north side, by the pool’s bath house, where parking for employees and handicapped spaces can be added. The city can also look to add some parking on the east side of Northern Avenue.
Kopczick said after the meeting the city would look at these possibilities, but also wants to protect the park’s large, old trees.
During the meeting, Alderman Bill Martin said adding more parking to the park came up years ago, prior to the pool’s renovations being completed, but it did not pass the council.
“I think it was tied to the bandshell,” said Alderman Randy Larson referring to why the previous parking vote failed. “So maybe we revisit the fact, even with no bandshell.”
Larson agreed the parking needs to be addressed and said he thought the city could get 15 to 20 more parking spaces with what is already available at the park.
The city approved constructing a bandshell in 2009 and purchased the materials, but the location of the bandshell has yet to be decided. It was originally planned for Goold Park, but the city has received opposition to putting it there.