WALLINGFORD — The Town Council reacted favorably Tuesday evening to a proposed renovation of the Community Pool property with an estimated price tag of $4.5 million to $6 million.
“Sign me up,” said Councilor Chris Shortell. “If we ever actually go forward with this, I do not want to nickel and dime it. I feel like if we’re going to do it... let’s go all in.”
Town officials have been considering the future of the 7.1-acre pool property at 739 N. Main Street Ext. because of growing maintenance cost and fluctuating yet overall declining pool attendance in recent years. The pool was last renovated about 20 years ago.
The pool is typically open eight to nine weeks in the summer to town residents only, a policy implemented in 2012 after the near-drowning of a New Haven child. Parks and Recreation sold 2,496 pool passes this year as compared with1,960 last year. In 2010, 5,300 passes were sold.
Parks and Recreation Director John Gawlak, Parks and Recreation Commission member Michael Savenelli Sr. and Silver Petrucelli architect David Stein made the presentation.
Under the plan, the existing pool would be demolished and two new pools would replace it. The main pool would be 12,900 square feet with shade structures and a separate, six-lane lap pool would be 3,850 square feet.
The rest of the property would be developed into a multi-use park, including a 4,710-square-foot splash pad, new playground equipment, a fitness playground, sand volleyball court, food service concession stand with a kitchen, refurbished bath house, picnic area and seasonal entertainment pavilion.
There would be a bather capacity of 860, however that number may change due to limited parking and shower facilities.
There would be operational changes, such as a reduction in pool water and chemicals. The 1 million gallons of water used by the current pool would be reduced to 334,000 gallons. That may lower operational expenses.
Current pool expenses, including staff, total $146,330 annually.
“The committee is proposing a pool tag fee structure to cover operational costs,” presentation documents state. “We are exploring pool tag options including but not limited to day passes.”
Construction costs would include $2,100,000 for site improvements, such as regrading, excavation, paving, landscaping and fencing. The pool, pool equipment and splash pad would cost $1,600,000. Renovation of the pool house would be $400,000. The playgrounds and other structures would be $700,000. Possible unspecified costs would range from 15 to 20 percent. The projected cost range would be $4.5 million to $6 million.
Councilor Tom Laffin said he wanted time to review the costs.
“It’s a lot,” he said.
Council Chairman Vincent Cervoni said he’s “a little worried about the money.”
“I do think that there’s a public benefit to having a community pool that’s improved and more useful,” Cervoni said. “The perception is the council will figure out how to pay for it” if there's a strong show of public support.