The community group Friends of Cheshire Pool supports a viable long term solution to ensure that the Cheshire Community Pool is enjoyed all year round. The Cheshire pool is an asset to the community. The pool is a safe and fun environment for children to the learn the life skill of swimming, it promotes a healthy lifestyle for the community and supports the local economy by attracting thousands of swim team members and their families from all over the state.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
What to do about the Pool? The Process of Decision.
Some thoughts, and some facts from the 5.2.2013 Cheshire Community Pool Meeting.
The sense here in town is that the pool is a good thing. The
overwhelming wish is to get it right this time. The users of the town pool
include the very young and the very seasoned, the uber-fit, the rehabbing injured, the differently abled,
the exuberant Zumba ladies, the sugar-fueled birthday party goers, the hard-working high school teams, the scuba
crew, the frazzled families and their friends.
The membership and usage at the pool has grown in leaps and bounds. It is a
popular resource and it's absence for a few months was a huge hole in the daily
lives of many in our community.
Our pool is an oddity in terms of its standing as an asset
in the town. There is no other service that is a standalone entity on the
town's budget. The WPCA would be the closest and even that does not reflect the
principal and interest on any of the costs of the debt related to it. Other
town facilities fall under Public Works for building maintenance and repair.
Not the pool. All these costs come out of the pool's own budget. (minutes of 5.2.13 CCP Committee Meeting) When
we think of assets like the Senior Center and the Library we cannot compare
apples to apples. The pool simply costs less than those.
A shocking number came out of the very first meeting of the
CCP Committee Meeting. Ms. Adams, The Aquatic Director, stated that the pool
brings in $600,000 annually in revenue. There is no way, even if we all forgot
our library books that other assets could generate that kind of revenue.
We also forget that our swim teams host huge State
Championship meets several times a year. As well as attracting in swimmers to
the local team on a regular basis they also bring in hundreds of carloads of
hungry swimmers and their families who stay in the area for up to four days at
a time for large meets. A captive audience, a spending boom of carb-gobblers
from the entire state. Our economically hammered Main Street needs all the
customers it can capture.
The committee is tasked with coming up with a viable
solution. Taken directly from the minutes " The committee must make a
decision on a design to be recommended and provide support and evaluation of
the pros and cons of its selection, along with the pros and cons of the design
which was not selected, all the financial aspects, cost of structure, cost of
operation, and life cycle costs." As well as being a very long run on
sentence that is also a very tall order for a motley crue of members. The
committee is made up of town council members, pool users from different groups,
public works, town citizens who are skeptical, and supporters. It is wonderful
to have the skeptics. It keeps everyone thinking from all points of view. Some
of the more skeptical were surprised by the figures, the structural challenges
and the history of the pool. Some admitted that they had preconceived notions
that had been blown away by the meeting. It was a great venue for all concerns
to be aired.
The committee outlined in general the various options that
they would be exploring. That, Pool Friends, is our next installment.