The Examiner

Armonk Pool Reopens for Summer Season

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Joe DiMauro, center, with the North Castle Town Board last weekend during the reopening of the former Ehrman Pool in Armonk.

Over the winter Shirley Kaiser had wondered whether she and her fellow North Castle residents had seen the last of the swimming pool on Greenway Road in Armonk that they and their families had used for years.

Kaiser, one of an outspoken number of residents who pleaded to the North Castle Town Board to save the former Ehrman Pool starting last fall, couldn’t have been happier for the unofficial start of summer last weekend and the first morning of the 2012 swim season.

“We weren’t sure it was going to happen,” Kaiser acknowledged. “We’re just over the top that it did and I can’t imagine a summer without it.”

Last Saturday morning, town officials gathered with Armonk resident Joseph DiMauro to cut the ribbon on a new season and a new lease on life for the financially strapped pool. DiMauro stepped forward during the winter to buy the pool after the previous non-profit that had operated the aquatic facility ran into difficulty making its debt service payments stemming from the $3 million 2006-07 refurbishment project.

DiMauro, a 12-year Armonk resident who heads the limited liability company, North Castle Pool and Tennis Club, that now owns and operates the pool, said he figured he’d take the risk and try to make the venture work for the benefit of the community.

“I’m ecstatic about this,” DiMauro said. “It makes my heart soar. My children have been coming here for 12 years so everyone is going to be very happy about this.”

The road to reopening the pool, however, was not without potholes. The town was faced with either finding a buyer to purchase the pool and 11.6 acres for about $1.9 million or schedule a referendum so it could become a municipal facility. However, in a town where many residents are either members of one of the existing private clubs or have their own pools, officials agreed the proposition would likely have been defeated.

Once North Castle Pool and Tennis stepped forward and became the leading candidate to buy the pool, there were complicated legal entanglements to transfer ownership from the non-profit.

Then, when it was revealed that DiMauro, the chairman of the town’s parks and recreation advisory board, was the head of the group buying the pool, there were charges of conflict of interest. DiMauro defended his role saying he and the advisory board have no authority to make decisions regarding the town’s recreation programs.

“For them to start a controversy over the operation of the pool that’s a tragic thing because, again, that’s politics, perhaps from someone who wants to run for town board,” he said. “I won’t engage in it, it’s negativity and I always felt that when I went in front of the town board, I’ve watched them for years, people always have complaints but if you’re going to complain you should have a solution.”

DiMauro said they need to boost membership to between 250 and 350 families in order to be solvent. He added that at some point it may be possible for the town to take over the pool so it is a true municipal facility.

Councilman John Cronin, the town board’s liaison to parks and recreation, said finding a private buyer was the only realistic option to reopen the pool considering the time it would have taken for the town to schedule a referendum and the likelihood of it being unsuccessful.

“It’s just a great facility and it’s great we have people in town like Joe DiMauro who step up and act in a fantastically civic-minded way,” Cronin said. “Membership’s going well, the pool looks great.”

Tulloss Delk, who moved to Armonk a few months ago, came for the opening with his wife, Abby, and two-year-old daughter, Layna, on the summerlike morning. He said if no solution had been found they would have had to make other swim plans for the summer.

“It was one of the things we really liked about the neighborhood,” Delk said. “It’s really great that they reopened.”




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