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Wallingford's Community Pool may be closed next summer

Wallingford's Community Pool may be closed next summer

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WALLINGFORD — If the Town Council approves a renovation design for Community Pool, it likely won't be open next summer to allow for construction.

The Parks and Recreation Department’s pool committee is slated to present a design concept for a new pool and surrounding park at the Town Council meeting next week.

“It will be determined by the council and the mayor if funding will be available,” Michelle Bjorkman, Superintendent of Recreation, said via email Thursday. “Not sure when that decision will be made. If they do approve it, the existing pool would be closed next summer for renovation.”

The proposed renovation of the entire North Main Street Extension property has been in the works for more than a year.

According to information provided to councilors by TLBA Architecture, the Chester-based architectural and engineering firm that did the design work, the proposed site plan would include a new pool, splash pad, bathhouse with a pump room in the basement, bus pull-off, 116-space parking lot, shade structures and 12 new trees.

Optional amenities include 52 trees, sand volleyball, playground, picnic pavilion, activity lawn, planting beds, gravel path and community garden.

The total base construction project cost is $4.9 million, including demolition, site preparation, new buildings and structures, new aquatic facilities, site work and contingency.

With $750,000 in soft costs added in, the total project cost is $5.65 million. Additional items, like a picnic pavilion, playground, sand volleyball court, expanded splash pad and parking lot repaving would add to the total project cost.

It’s unclear if the town will offer an alternative site where residents can cool off next summer if Community Pool is under construction. Bjorkman said that Parks and Recreation has no plans to open the Sheehan High School pool to the public at this point.

“I would think that’s a discussion to have around budget time,” Councilor Christopher Shortell said via email Thursday. Shortell spearheaded a successful effort to keep Community Pool open through Labor Day this year.

“I do think everyone was aware that we’d lose a summer due to construction if the pool project goes forward,” he said. “I’m less focused on that aspect and more on whether or not the proposed plan will meet the residents’ expectations.”

Pool pass sales have increased the past two years after several years of steady decline. The department reported it sold 2,721 pool tags this season, up from last year’s total of 2,497.

In 2015, there were 2,913 pool tag sales. In 2016, the number dipped to 2,219 and fell further in 2017 to 1,975.

About 5,300 pool tags were sold in 2010, but the near drowning of a 12-year-old New Haven boy in 2012 prompted a town residents-only policy.

The Town Council is scheduled to meet 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall council chambers.

Twitter: @LCTakores

Read the Wallingford pool presentation.
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