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Bellingham Marine completes Chicago marina project

Chicago’s newest boat harbor, the 31st Street Marina, recently added a floating swimming pool.

Westrec Marinas, which manages the facility on behalf of the city, hired marina builder Bellingham Marine to design and supply a concrete floating platform to support the new floating pool. The platform measures 85 feet by 40 feet.

“It’s basically a picture frame-type configuration with a 9-foot-wide deck that surrounds the pool,” Bellingham Marine operations manager Jim Engen said in a statement.

Bellingham said all utilities are routed internally to provide a clean deck and all treated lumber is concealed with a polymer cover. The pool is an aluminum structure provided by Chester Pool Systems that sits snug within the platform’s hole and is designed to float independently. Surrounding the concrete platform is a floating sundeck and restroom facility. The pool is chlorinated, filtered and heated, just like an in-ground pool.

Bellingham Marine said the floating platform was engineered with the buoyancy of the pool in mind. When filled, the pool sits flush with the deck of the platform. However, in the winter, when the water is drained from the pool, the insert is free to float at its natural level in the water beneath it.

“This was a critical element in the design,” Engen said. “With the two structures designed to float independently, the harbor is able to fill and drain the pool without affecting the surrounding structures.”

The floating pool at the 31st Street Marina is one of only a few in the country. The pool is free to boaters who dock at the harbor and can be accessed by the public for a fee.

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