DuPage County Health Department will not issue a permit during Phase 3
On June 8 the DuPage County Health Department informed the Naperville Park District that it will not issue a permit for Centennial Beach operations during Phase 3 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan. Swimming facility guidance also has not been issued by public health officials for Phase 4. Therefore, the Park District regrets to announce that Centennial Beach will remain closed for the 2020 season.
“We really hoped to be able to offer swimming at some level this summer at Centennial Beach, but unfortunately we are unable to do so,” said Executive Director Ray McGury.
This spring the Beach was drained and cleaned as part of the annual maintenance that is required at the facility. For the past several weeks the Naperville Park District has been waiting for guidance from the Governor’s office and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on the operation of swim facilities this summer, prior to filling the Beach with water and conducting staff training which takes several weeks to complete. Late on Friday, June 5, IDPH released “Swimming Facility Guidelines” for Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan. The guidelines allow for swimming facilities licensed by IDPH to open during Phase 3 for lap swimming, diving, swimming lessons, swim team practices, and therapy pool use. However, water parks and bathing beaches are not to be opened in Phase 3. Centennial Beach is classified as a beach and is licensed as such by the state and county.
The Park District contacted IDPH and the DuPage County Health Department in an effort to secure a license to operate programming in Phase 3 given the unique nature of the Centennial Beach facility, which includes chlorination of the water. Requests to IDPH and the County were denied. DuPage County Health Department explained that it has determined not to review plans for individual facilities or allow any facilities to operate outside of the Restore Illinois guidelines provided by the state. During Phase 3 Centennial Beach will not be able to operate, unless there are changes to the guidelines provided by IDPH. At this time swimming facility guidance has not been issued for Phase 4, and it is unknown when Phase 4 guidelines will be issued. Even if a permit were issued in three weeks, the earliest date that the region is able to move to Phase 4 under the Governor’s plan, the park district would need several more weeks to fill the swimming area with water, train staff, and prepare to open. This makes it unlikely that the facility could open prior to mid-July and results in too little time in the season for feasible operations. The Beach will be allowed to naturally fill with water this summer to maintain the water pressure between the Beach and nearby DuPage River.
Individuals who purchased a 2020 Beach pass will receive a refund. Although the water will remain closed this summer, Centennial Beach will host Naperville Park District group fitness classes, such as Outdoor Beach Yoga, in the grass and sand areas. Registration for these classes is currently available online.
Based on park district records this is the first year that Centennial Beach has not been able to operate for an entire season. Each year Centennial Beach experiences well over 100,000 visitors to the facility, and many more who participate in learn to swim programs, water fitness, swim team, water polo, and several other programs. The Beach typically employs approximately 200 part-time staff each summer.
The splash pad at the new 95th Street Community Plaza, originally scheduled for a grand opening this summer, also is unable to open under Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan. The Park District is awaiting guidance from IDPH on the operation of splash pads under Phase 4.