Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekend of Oct 5th and 6th, Volunteer work

31 Days left in the campaign. Not much time left !

We have a couple of campaign events that we need assistance with. This weekend-would you be available to hand out flyers at the sports fields for one hour? Very easy job. We've done it a few weeks in a row and it's been very positive. Friends will be meeting at 10am in the pool parking lot at Bartlem. Email us to let us know if you can join us -

10/6 - This weekend we will be campaigning at the football game on Sunday morning We need some help for a couple of hours. Please let us know if you can. It's basically handing out flyers and explaining the structure.

  Finally, we would like to start the door to door campaign a little sooner than indicated on our planning calendar. We have a lot of ground to cover and we want to reach as many people as possible It would be great if people could start covering a couple of streets when they can. Cheshire has 475 streets so we need a lot of people. Even if you can do a small block let us know.

We will give you the flyers and the FAQ sheet that has all the answers. Start around your neighborhood and branch out. Once people hear details of the solution they are very supportive. They are weary of the bubble collapses, but unaware of the solution details. This job is critical to our success in November.

 Email to let us know what you can do. Thank you for another good week of work.
31 days only to get to speak to everyone. Let's get going!

Cheshire Citizen Editorial Column

The Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about the Pool.

Our fellow Cheshire residents are interested in learning more about the solution. They often ask about the alternatives to the Solution.  
The Pool Evaluation Committee that made the recommendation of the Steel Tension structure considered 11 options in depth during the deliberations for the Solution. Many of the options that they considered and rejected form the basis of the questions that we Friends of Cheshire Pool are most frequently asked.
Here they are in list form, to help you in your conversations with friends and neighbors.
Why not just fill in the pool,  it’s been an issue long enough?
* The pool is a valuable community asset. In the past year there have been 128,000 pool visits (excluding any swim teams).
* The pool serves the whole community from toddlers to senior citizens, people swimming for exercise and for physical rehabilitation, the able body and the disabled, provides swimming lessons to hundreds of people a year.
* The pool is a $4 million town asset with continued debt service requirements on $1.5 million in bonds and would not receive the revenue currently provided through user fees.
* To demolish the pool, its deck, remove the equipment, demolish the pool building, fill in the pool and remove all the debris is estimated to cost approximately $1.25 million.
* The education department would have to pay more than $50,000 out of its budget for busing and pool rentals for practices and meets for the High School Boys and Girls Swim teams.

Why not just put the bubble back-up – we have insurance proceeds?
* A more permanent solution is needed to provide a stronger enclosure to eliminate the risk of future storm damage.
* The town has heard many responses for voters asking to fix the problems of the bubble once and for all.
* The permanent enclosure will reduce energy and contractor costs, increase revenues and eliminate down time for the pool (putting up and taking down the bubble) that a bubble cannot provide. All of this will significantly reduce the subsidy to the pool.
* Studies have shown that the past bubbles were available to use only about 70% of the time. A permanent enclosure would bring that up closer to 100%.

 Why not just make it summer only? 
* There would be additional costs to converting a pool which was designed to be used year round to a summer only pool (in order to prevent pipe freezing and winter damage) that would diminish any projected savings from this idea. The pool was built to be year round and enclosed in the winter, as approved by Cheshire residents.
* To get the facility ready to be winterized requires retrofitting the pipes and 44 drains,  and to enclosed in the concrete deck and to the mechanical equipment to be able to be winterize. These one-time costs have been estimated at $130,000. Additionally, a pool cover would be needed, costing approximately $60,000. With this preparation the pool could be winterized in the fall and reopened in the Spring at an annual cost of $20,000-30,000.
* The Education Departments expenses would increase over $50,000 to pay for buses and pool rentals to take Cheshire High School Boys and Girls teams to practice and meets at other pools.
* There would be a significant loss of revenue from pool users (season passes, swim team rentals, income from lessons, parties, events, and hosting meets).
* Many nearby communities with large summer only pools (e.g. Canton Municipal Pool & Brookfield YMCA Pool) are making plans to go from summer only to year round facilities because they have found it not practical or financially sensible to have a pool open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Town Subsidy is too large!
* All town services: youth center, senior center, library, park and rec, arts place, linear trail etc. receive town subsidy.  All these resources are 100% taxpayer funded not the pool. The pool is the only town resource that generates significant revenue.
* The pool subsidy is about $350,000 for the past year. This accounts for only about .3% of the entire town operating budget.

* Unlike other town facilities/Services the Pool users pay most of the expenses for the pool through user fees.
* The pool revenue was on track to be a record over $600,000 before the bubble collapse.
* With the new proposed enclosure there will be significant energy savings (insulation and no air blowers) and lower contractor costs (not putting up and taking down the bubble.
* This will result in an expected subsidy of less than $200,000.

What is the difference between a “tension membrane” and a bubble?
* The steel tension structure has a permanent steel frame with an incredibly strong Teflon coated fabric membrane.  Unlike the bubble, it does not require any “air support” or “blower” to keep it up.
* A steel tension membrane structure is much sturdier and reliable than a bubble.  It is designed to shed snow and resist wind much better than a bubble design.
* The steel tension membrane structure will allow the facility to remain open 100% of the year.  Unlike the bubble, it will not require the pool to close for seasonal transitions and maintenance.
* The steel tension structure has lower life cycle costs compared to a modified bubble or a polycarbonate structure.
* The steel tension structure has lower short term and long term operating costs compared to a bubble.
* A steel tension structure offers a significant improvement in energy conservation compared with the previous air supported bubble

Are there other steel tension structures out there?  Why didn’t we buy one years ago?
* Steel tension membrane structures are widely used for Olympic size swimming pools
* General experience has been very positive
* These structures were not yet available at the time that the original bubble design was selected.
* The steel tension structure has proven reliability.  The Denver airport has a steel tension membrane roof (1995) .  The New England Patriots training facility in Foxboro, Massachusetts also is a steel tension membrane structure.  The Pool Evaluation Committee visited the New England Patriots facility as part of its research.

Will there still be an outdoor “feel” in the summer?
* The Steel tension structure will have an open feel in the summer.
* The sides can be opened in the summer months giving the pool an open air feel.
* This pavilion feel will allow shading at the pool and easy access to the outside sun.
* With additional attention to prevention of skin cancer, many pool users actually welcome the sun protection afforded by the covering

Will the new structure stand up to winter storms?
* Yes!
* The structure will be built to withstand a snow load of up to 50 lbs per square foot. (well more than 5 feet of snow and ice). Cheshire, for its buildings, normally uses a standard of 30 lbs per square foot.
* The structure will also be able to withstand wind speeds up to 130 mph. A similar structure on the gulf coast, covering a same size pool was able to withstand hurricane Katrina without damage.

Were other options discussed?
Yes.  The Cheshire Community Pool Evaluation Committee met for several intense months over the Spring and summer.  This group, chaired by John Purtill and Kevin Wetmore investigated all possibilities.  The full report has been available on the Town web site. This group gave report to the Town Council , who selected the steel tension membrane option to go forward to the town referendum.  Other options including replacing the bubble, building the more expensive polycarbonate structure voted down by taxpayers in 2010, or building an alternative pool behind CHS were all priced out and compared.  The steel tension membrane came out to be the best and most practical solution to our specific needs—affordable, durable, attractive, and sustainable 

Will the new permanent structure be more or less energy efficient than the bubble?
More.  Operating costs and energy costs are projected to DECREASE because of significantly higher “R” value for the structure and lack of need  to use an air blower for the bubble .  Furthermore, as the pool would not be required to close for seasonal transitions, revenue should also increase.
Who uses the pool
* Many seniors and other adults who swim for exercise
* Adults who take fitness classes
* children who take swimming lessons
* Families and individuals who use the pool for relaxation and recreation
* disabled children and adults who are can be more mobile in the water than on dryland
* those taking  scuba lessons, life guarding lessons and water rescue courses
* CHS Swim and Dive Teams
* Water polo, synchronized swimming, and diving lessons
* Cheshire Sea Dog Swim Team

I read in the paper that “no one ever uses the pool” and “it is a financial disaster”.  Is that true?
* Absolutely not!  The pool is a very well used community resource .In the past year there were 128,000 user days of activity at the pool. Also, in the past fiscal year the pool was on pace to bring in $600,000 in revenue.  Part of the apparent cost of the pool relative to other town services has to do with the accounting for the pool operating costs.  Even so, the pool has accounted for only 0.3% of the towns operating budget--$350,000 last year.  The pool is actually one of the FEW town resources that offsets the majority of its cost with generated revenue.  A trip to the pool at almost any time will show many users present.
* The Pool is the only service/facility in town that has the potential to serve all residents, from toddlers to senior citizens, to those with handicaps’ and those seeking physical fitness and those needing physical therapy.

Why should I pay for something I don’t use?

* None of us use all the services in town. We pay for them because they make up the quality of life which adds value to our lives, makes Cheshire a great place to live and add value to our homes.
* You may not have used all the roads in Cheshire but we all pay to keep them in shape and for snow plowing. You may not have use the police and fire departments this year but you paid for them. You may not have used the Library, Linear Trail, Senior Center, Youth Center, Arts Place, Yellow House or any of the multiple ball fields or had someone in the school system - but paid for them. Others helped pay for the things that you used and they have not. All of these add to the quality of life and make Cheshire a great place to live.
* The expected cost of the pool is about $2.60 a year for the average home in Cheshire. This is because the cost of repaying the bonds and interest is significantly offset by energy savings, contractor cost (no putting up and taking down the bubble), lower maintenance costs and increased revenue . Additionally, the construction cost is spread, by bonding over 20 years and spread over the $2.2 billion property assessment base in Cheshire.
* This $2.60 per average household does not reflect a tax increase, it only means that $2.60 of the taxes you pay goes toward the cost of the structure.
* The pool is the only town facility that significantly covers most of the cost of the facilities through user fees and rental fees. These fees range from a daily pass for an adult of $7.00 to an adult yearly pass of $200. For a family the seasonal pass costs $245 or $360 for an annual pass.
* The pool adds value to the town and to your home.  Communities with multiple exercise facilities are healthier communities

My neighbors tell me that the pool has been a problem for years!  Why not give up?
* The Pool Complex had a rough start in being constructed and has had a series of problems.
* The complex consists of the pool itself, the mechanicals, the pool concrete deck, the pool building and the pool bubble.
 -   There has not been a problem with the Pool itself since it opened in 2003.
  -   There has not been a problem with the mechanicals or the pool’s
         concrete deck since it opened in 2003.
* There have been  problems with the pool building caused by the negative
    pressure from the air pressure needed to keep the bubble inflated.
    and problems with the bubble’s stability.
* It makes sense, therefore, to support the new structure that will eliminate the need for air pressure –thus to preserve the building. Being made of steel supports will eliminate the causes of the bubble collapses