CHESHIRE — An unexpected six-figure bill to replace the liner at Cheshire Community Pool recently prompted concerns about pool maintenance.
At the budget presentation for the pool back in April, Aquatics Director Sheila Adams informed the Town Council that anywhere from $109,000 to $150,000 would need to be allocated for a new pool liner, after it was discovered that the current liner has multiple tears. The problem was discovered after the pool was drained due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“We just recently walked the pool and found about 10 new tears in the liner in addition to the ones that are already there,” Adams said.
At the most recent budget meeting on May 13, the town discussed two vendors that had submitted proposals to repair the damage.
“We received two quotes for replacing the liner; one is from an out-of-state company and the other is CT Custom Aquatics, who we’ve used before,” said Town Manager Sean Kimball.
Adams went on to explain that, while RenoSys Co. of Indiana originally offered a lower price than CT Customs Aquatics — the cost to begin the installation would be about $135,230 — they could not guarantee they would be finished by the time the Cheshire Pool would be allowed to reopen under state executive orders related to the pandemic.
“By going with the other vendor, we would have to wait a significant amount of time for them to begin the process,” Kimball said. “And we would have to delay the opening even more after the restrictions have been lifted.”
“CT Custom Aquatics can begin the tear-out process like, next week, whereas the other company wouldn’t start until June,” Adams added.
The council ultimately decided to hire CT Customs Aquatics to replace the liner for a price of approximately $144,000, which would include demolition, installation of a new pool liner, and an additional 15-year warranty on the liner. RenoSys was only offering 10 years.
The tear-out process was scheduled to begin this week, with the hope that the pool liner will be ready by June 14.
Although the motion passed unanimously, councilors voiced concerns about the timing of the request, and how this could be avoided in the future.
“It sounds like this was just dropped on us. All of a sudden, we need $140,000 for a new liner … I’m not sure why this isn’t a capital budget thing?” asked Councilor Don Walsh. “If we know the lifespan of a new liner is 10 or 12 years, that should be something that is built in rather than dropped on us right in the middle of the budget hearings.”
Kimball said the town has not had an in-depth replacement schedule for the pool, but assured the council that it is something he is working on.
Chairman Rob Oris expressed similar concerns.
“We need to have some forward-looking budgeting looking at the age and life expectancy of the equipment. It seems to me like we are very reactive with this pool and not very proactive, and it’s certainly, in my opinion, now impacting our ability as a council to properly plan going forward …,” he said.
Parks Director John Gawlak assured the council that in the next year he plans to hire an independent party to take a look at the pool, and then recommend any changes.