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The Chillicothe Voice

Shore Acres Pool

Apr 29, 2024 10:43AM ● By the Chillicothe Park District

Shore Acres Park has been home to over 100 years of making summer memories poolside. Throughout its legacy of being Chillicothe’s oldest park, Shore Acres has been home to three swimming pools filled with splashing, laughter, and cool fun during Chillicothe’s hottest summer days.

The original pool was constructed while the property belonged to the Peoria Automobile Club in the 1920s. Many of Chillicothe’s senior residents have fond memories of spending their summer days at this pool in its original location behind Shore Acres Clubhouse along the riverfront. The locker rooms were located in the basement of Shore Acres Clubhouse, and if you look closely near the seawall, concrete pieces of the original pool structure can still be seen.

After nearly 50 years of swimming along the riverfront, this pool experienced challenges created by Illinois river flooding and the lack of a filter system. Without a filter system, the pool needed to be emptied and refilled every two weeks. To combat these challenges, the park board decided to construct a new pool further west into the heart of Shore Acres Park which went out for bid in 1969. 

The second pool was more than three times the size of the original riverfront pool and brought new elements such as a high dive, a concession stand, and a bathhouse that is still in use today. The second pool gave the community more than three decades of fun in the sun. Annual attendance during this time was around 3,000 people who enjoyed the pool each summer. 

After 30 years of use, the park board along with new director, Kevin Yates, began working on a plan to upgrade the second pool for the next generation. Construction began in 2005 on a water park design that would become a regional destination eventually entertaining over 25,000 users each summer.

The new facility, which was constructed in the same location as its predecessor, would bring many upgrades. It included two 25-foot water slide flumes,  a large zero-depth entry activity pool with a play structure, a larger concession area, two grass sunning areas, and ADA-accessible water access. Unfortunately, due to new state safety regulations, the aging high dive had to be removed. 

As one of the few remaining public pools in Peoria County, Shore Acres Pool currently employs over 50 high school and college-aged staff each summer, making it one of the top employers for youth in our community. As a summer staple for many visitors throughout the Peoria area, Shore Acres Pool has become a tourist destination for Chillicothe. 

Despite challenges of increased supply cost, rising minimum wage, and a shortened season due to the changing school calendars, the park board’s dedication to yearly infrastructure upgrades, along with dedicated employees and the support of its visitors, ensures that Shore Acres Pool will continue to be a source of pride and water play for many years to come.