WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Spring Lake Swimming Plan Gets Beached

Oct 15, 2015

It looks like the city of Macomb and Spring Lake Management won’t build a beach and allow public swimming as soon as they hoped.

The plan they discussed called for opening the beach next year.  But they’ve been told of an additional, unexpected expense: Illinois law requires a bath house within 300 feet of a public beach.

“Even the most simple one would probably be in the $50,000 range, I would guess,” said City Administrator Dean Torreson, who’s frustrated because no one from the state mentioned the requirement while the city and Spring Lake Management researched the idea of building a beach.

“In looking at the state health department website – nothing about a bath house requirement.  And in conversations and emails back and forth between Spring Lake Management and the state health department in Springfield -- no mention of it. The city attorney called and talked to the person responsible for doing the licensing – no mention of a bath house,” said Torreson.

He said someone from the engineering firm Benton and Associates told Spring Lake Management about the requirement.  Torreson said the firm knew about the law because it’s done a similar project elsewhere.

Torreson said no money was set aside in the current budget to pay for a project of this size so it will have to be delayed.  He says aldermen and Spring Lake Management will need to decide whether it’s a priority for next fiscal year.

Torreson said the plan to build a beach and offer free public swimming at Spring Lake has generated quite a bit of interest. He believes the beach would draw people from a 50 miles radius, boosting the local economy as visitors come into town to spend money at restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses.