Buyer Found for Armonk’s Ehrman Pool; Set to Open for Season

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Ehrman Pool in Armonk
Ehrman Pool in Armonk

A private buyer has been found for the financially strapped Anita Louise Ehrman Pool in Armonk but questions arose last week about whether North Castle officials could have been more transparent.

Terms of the sale to the North Castle Pool and Tennis Club LLC, which will own and operate the aquatic facility and 11.6-acre parcel, will not be disclosed until the letter of intent has been signed, said Supervisor Howard Arden.

He said the town board achieved its main objective of having the Greenway Road pool open for 2012 as well as avoiding a referendum, which would have been required for the town to acquire the facility and assume control. Even if a referendum had been approved by voters, there likely would have been no chance for the pool to open this summer, which would have also forced the town to make other arrangements for town camp, Arden said. Furthermore, the town would have assumed the liability and be responsible for all costs.

“Our goal was to try and keep the pool going so we could have it open for summer,” Arden said.

With the imminent completion of the transaction, the pool is scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend. If the pool would have been dark this summer the condition of the facility could have been compromised for the future, Arden said.

Since the original pool was built in the mid 1960s, it has been run by a non-profit organization. However, the operators ran into financial difficulty following the $3 million refurbishment project in 2006-07 and approached the town last year to buy the facility or to help find a new owner. Last November, Ehrman Recreation Center President Bruce Yaroscak estimated the selling price would be about $2 million.

Since last fall when the pool’s financial troubles were made public, the board had heard a constant flow of pleas from residents who urged officials to find a way to keep the aquatic facility open.

Councilman John Cronin, who was closely involved in the efforts to save the pool, said the sale to North Castle Pool and Tennis Club is a good decision for the town because it insures the facility opens and public interest is maintained.

“There wasn’t time to have a referendum and if we would have allowed that, if the pool didn’t open for a year, it would have devastated the membership,” Cronin said.

However, at the March 14 town board meeting, Banksville resident Sharon Tomback questioned why the town didn’t post the information pertaining to the sale on the town’s website. Instead, a March 7 message from Cronin to the public was placed on the Ehrman Pool website. She also said the arrangement of having a non-profit entity sell to a for-profit group “scares the hell out of me.”

“The issue here is the process and actually the town board making a unilateral decision with no public discussion, no public vote,” Tomback said.

She expressed concern about the extra $15,000 the town is kicking in this year toward having its summer campers swim at the pool.

Cronin, who called Tomback “off the wall” for voicing her concerns, said there was no financial interest on the part of the town except to bring the parties together. For several years the town has promised to contribute more

“They’re assuming all the risk,” he said. “I’m not sure what you’re scared of.”

Cronin also said that the $15,000 will be taken from various lines. The largest single sum to be transferred is $5,000 that had been budgeted for a dormant Banksville day camp, he said. There are an assortment of other smaller savings to come up with the remaining $10,000.

Another town resident, Fran French, told the board that the new fee structure was “obscene,” particularly for seniors. Last year, seniors didn’t for membership. This year, they are currently scheduled to pay $500. Family membership is slated for $1,000 while individual members will pay $700.

Last year there were 226 members, but Cronin said one of the reasons the pool had financial difficulty was a haphazard fee structure.

There are also more than 300 bondholders in town, which covers about $481,000. Four members of the town board are bondholders but will be donating their bonds to the pool.

Information on how the public can sign up for membership this summer can be found at www.ehrmanpool.org.

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