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North Castle officials are evaluating what work needs to be done to the town pool and how to complete the required upgrades while keeping the facility open for next year.
Last week, Matt Trainor, the town’s superintendent of Parks and Recreation, outlined the most critical needs that must be addressed, including pool surfacing and overhauling the deck. A consistent loss of water has also been plaguing the pool, and it’s unclear whether that is in its shell or if it can be traced to the piping or return lines, Trainor said.
There have also been problems with the plumbing inside the building at the Greenway Road complex, he said.
Trainor told the Town Board last week that he’s asked the town’s engineers at Kellard Sessions to fully assess the pool’s condition and to prioritize the work that needs to be done.
“We’ve now gotten to the point at the pool where the Department of Health has taken some notice to some of these items, most notably the surface of the interior and the deck,” Trainor said. “I still say that those are the two biggest issues existing at this point in time.”
A challenge for the town will be how it will start to make the improvements but not miss much of the 2024 swim season. Councilman Saleem Hussain said it will be critical to prioritize the work that is most urgently needed to have the pool open for next summer.
“I’d like to have the pool open for as long as possible next season for the residents, even if it means doing a phased approach to getting the changes done, as long as it’s safe (and) we have all necessary things in place,” Hussain said.
Improvements are most likely to take place over two years. But it’s also important for the town to preserve as much of the season as possible to retain membership, said Councilman Matt Milim.
He noted that a Parks and Recreation survey listed the five top concerns from the public in the following order — surface, decking, a request for shade, concessions and building and facilities, which includes the bathrooms and locker room.
Trainor mentioned that those items listed on the rec survey are no surprise. However, the town has to strike a balance between making the critical infrastructure improvements to open its doors next year while also keeping the pool a fun experience.
The cost of the work will be significant, Trainor said. More will be known when Kellard Sessions returns with its report in about a month, he said.
“We certainly want to provide the on-the-surface visual amenities that people enjoy,” Trainor said. “I just know the costs associated with some of these improvements, or not just improvements, but sort of getting the facility up to par to be on a satisfactory level for the health department. They’re costly, they’re not small-ticket items.”
Trainor suggested that if the work for this offseason runs long, the town shouldn’t rush for a Memorial Day weekend opening. Instead, officials should be forthright with residents and inform them that the opening could be delayed to as late as July 4, if needed. That way families can make other plans, if that’s what they would like to do.
Ultimately, the timing of the 2024 reopening may depend on the Westchester County Department of Health, said Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto.
Supervisor Michael Schiliro said the town could push the opening to July 4 for next year, but wants to have the improvements done properly.
“It’s exciting, it’s a great amenity, it has been for many years and we’re excited about the future improvements and having this amenity for a very long time in the town,” Schiliro said.
The pool, which was operated by the Anita Louise Ehrman Recreation Center, was refurbished in 2006. But five or six years later, it ran into financial difficulty. A local resident took on the responsibility of operating it for three summers before he was unable to continue. The town was approached to take over pool operations in 2015 and has been operating it since then.
Most recently, the town recently completed the purchase of the facility, which is authorized to do in 2017.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/