Memorial flower bouquets line the Roosevelt Park Pool entry sign in Vicente Cardenas’ honor, just one week after the 4-year-old’s tragic drowning while on a camp swim trip to the Glenview facility.
When Patch visited Roosevelt Thursday afternoon, only a handful of patrons were at the pool.
But, according to a Park District employee who works at the pool’s front desk, Roosevelt has not seen a significant decrease in swimmers since last Friday’s tragedy. Thursday’s overcast weather contributed to the day's low attendance, he added.
When the pool reopened on Monday, the Park District announced it would not allow camp groups to use the facility until further notice. Additionally, the pool has been operating under abbreviated hours.
“Camp groups are still not allowed right now,” he said. "But if you look at our numbers, we haven’t seen a decrease in public patrons."
While swimmers continue to head to the pool, parents are being more cautious and safety conscious, said Brian Pelrine, one of Roosevelt's three seasonal managers.
Bob Quill, the park district's superintendent of leisure services, allowed Patch into the pool area to speak with patrons, but asked that we not approach lifeguards or anyone swimming in the pool as a safety precaucation.
"It could be a distraction," he said.
Dozens of parents have expressed concerns regarding pool safety at Roosevelt in Patch's comments section. One reader said her child would not be heading in the water without parent supervision.
"I have been to the pool with my kids during camp time and know how incredibly crazy it can be," one parent wrote. "...I don't know all the details of this incident, but I anxiously await them as well. It goes without saying that my son will not be going to the pool without one of his parents.
"In the meantime, we remember a young boy tragically lost, we sympathize with those who tried to save him, and we should work cooperatively to find a solution to prevent this from happening to another child."
Another reader said they have been concerned about safety at Roosevelt for several years.
"We stopped going to Roosevelt pool a couple of years ago because it had become overrun with too many campers during the week," the parent wrote. "It was an accident waiting to happen, period. May God bless this family who lost their precious little one way too soon."
At the nearly-empty pool deck Thursday afternoon, one family said Friday’s tragedy won’t stop their summer swimming plans.
The Glenview mom, who asked her name not be used, told Patch they don't come to the pool often but are not concerned about safety for future pool days this summer.
Her daughters, 8 and 10, said they were sad for the boy's family but were not afraid for their own safety at the pool.
"We think it's very sad," the girls shared. "He probably didn't know how to swim very well. We're very good swimmers."