A newly-formed committee will review multiple options in order to determine whether Pleasantville officials should fix existing problems at the village pool or construct a new facility.
Creation of the task force, which was announced at last week’s virtual Village Board meeting, will include members of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Matt Trainor, village trustees, swim team members and pool users.
“Lots of interested folks have reached out to be part of the discussion,” said Mayor Peter Scherer.
Under consideration will be the simplest and least-costly plan, which would replace the existing vinyl liner and fix minor structural repairs for an estimated $150,000. The most expensive plan is to construct a completely new pool which, depending on the design, could cost about $3 million.
“We have convened a group of people who will grapple with what the real range of costs will be,” Scherer said. “Is it realistic to spend a lot of money on an old pool, or is that throwing good money after bad? Or is it time to go the whole way?”
At the heart of any action to either upgrade or replace the pool is the willingness of the community to fund a plan.
Part of last week’s discussion was how a 15- or 20-year bond financing a pool project would impact the village’s budget. Different bond scenarios were presented reflecting various plans and what the estimated, expected debt level would be over the next 20 years. Any plan is expected to be funded entirely through the village’s tax base with about a 2 percent tax increase, according to Scherer.
The issue of a tax increase raised the question of whether pool patrons who don’t live within the village or the Pleasantville School District could be charged more to use the pool.
“Would you be willing to reconsider the fees for Mount Pleasant residents?” asked Petro Zorgman, a member of the Pleasantville Parks & Recreation Advisory Board who is on the pool task force. “Years ago, they used to pay more, then the rate was lowered for the same as village residents.”
Scherer said the surcharge for those living outside the village was eliminated “in an effort to build membership,” which turned out to be successful.
“If we end up investing a lot in the pool there would need to be some differential to reflect that village residents are already paying a tax,” Scherer said. “If we had a nice new pool, we could increase the rates and people would still want to come.”
Grants to build a new pool or fix the existing one might be available.
Scherer also said families that will be living in new units at the Toll Brothers townhouse apartments will be paying about $5,000 in village taxes.
“Some of those monies we can dedicate to recreation,” he said.
Last month the board announced that the pool would be closed for the entire summer after it was determined that keeping it open posed several health risks due to the pandemic. An online petition protesting the decision, “Save the Pool,” was posted by the Pleasantville Swim Team and had more than 500 signatures.
To date, there has been ongoing pool maintenance. Pumps have been installed in the pool and chlorine is being run through the pipes to locate any leaks, Trainor said.
The new task force is expected to meet by this week.