EDWARDSVILLE - While Edwardsville’s newest park and first public splash pad are taking shape, the city is bringing another option for the community to escape the summer heat.

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Members of the Edwardsville City Council have approved a lease agreement with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to operate the pool, formerly known as Cougar Lake Pool, and make it available to members of the community this summer.

The Village of Glen Carbon considered an Intergovernmental Agreement in order to make the pool available to their residents and recently, the village agreed to partner with the City of Edwardsville in the leasing of Cougar Lake Pool at SIUE.

The pool, which sits adjacent to the beautiful Tower Lake, includes lockers, restrooms and a concession area as well as a small splash pad for the younger visitors. Directional signage will be visible during the summer months on North University Drive and at Lot 10, southwest of The Gardens. While parking on campus typically requires a paid permit, parking at this lot during the summer will be free to all who are visiting the pool.

The city recently conducted an online survey and of the 533 respondents, 89 percent were in favor of making the pool available to residents and agreed that making use of an existing asset like Cougar Lake Pool is an effective way of expanding recreational opportunities.

Katie Grable, program coordinator for the Edwardsville Parks and Rec Department, said the name of the pool will be changed from Cougar Lake Pool to reflect it as a city pool.

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"I think this is a great addition," she said. "We had a master plan and we did a lot of community interviews about it. The community has expressed a desire for a public pool for a long time. To have this to become a reality so quickly is very excited. The new Splash Pad will also be very popular and both will be ways for people to cool off in the summer."

It is projected the new pool for Edwardsville and Glen Carbon will open by the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Grable said.

Family memberships start at $300, senior citizen memberships are $125 and daily passes will also be available for $5 per day or $4 per day for seniors and children 4-15, kids three and under swim free.

Private rentals will also be available for birthday parties, reunions and more.

SIUE Chancellor Steve Hansen and Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton have placed heavy emphasis on campus and community collaboration since assuming their respective offices, having recently approved the construction of an on-campus fire station and a leasing agreement for the City of Edwardsville to utilize the on-campus Cougar Lake Pool. Together, the two entities are working to enrich the community and create synergy that attracts students, residents, and visitors alike to the wonderful amenities offered through this community.

Hayley Verheyen, assistant recreation director for the Edwardsville Park and Rec Department, agreed with Grable that she is excited about having the pool and being able to provide this service to residents.

"It is a 25-meter swimming pool and has a small slide in the deep end," she said. "It has absolutely a lot of potential. It is something our residents are wanting. With this and the Spray Park opening are citizens are very excited."

For more information on hours, memberships and party rentals contact the Edwardsville Parks Department at 618-692-7538 or visit www.cityofedwardsville.com.

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