There might still be a couple weeks left before the calendar says it’s officially over, but the summer effectively ended on Labor Day.
It was a hot summer and it would have been nice if there was someplace in town to go swimming. But Joliet didn’t have an outdoor pool because the park district closed Splash Station after it couldn’t convince voters to go along with a $5 million tax hike. Which was a lot to ask for just a few years after they managed to push through a measure to issue bonds and borrow $19.5 million that will be paid back with property taxes.
The park district might have had a better shot at winning the referendum for a $5 million tax increase if somebody said something ahead of time about maybe having to shut down Splash Station. But that didn’t come up until after the ballots had been counted. And the threat apparently wasn’t enough to sway the Joliet City Council when it was asked for a $120,000 subsidy to keep the water park in business for at least a few more months. The city council doesn’t seem to mind throwing money around for the Rialto and the Old Joliet Prison, but when it comes to Splash Station, all of a sudden the bank is closed.
So Splash Station never opened up for the summer of 2019. Instead it sat empty the whole time, the towering slides dry, the lazy river nothing more than an empty ditch, the pool just a sloping hole in the ground.