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Local News

November 5, 2013

Pool project fails by 2 votes

HAMILTON — A controversial proposal to build a new $2.5 million swimming pool at Patton Park was rejected at Special Town Meeting last night by two votes.

While the motion passed 219 to 112, it did not achieve the required two-thirds majority, or at least 67 percent of vote. At least 221 votes were needed for the motion to pass, according to Town Clerk Jane Wetson.

Selectmen Chairman Marc Johnson said the only chance for a recount on the proposal was if a motion for one was made at last night’s meeting. No such motion was made.

The project was supported by selectmen, the Finance Committee and the Hamilton-Wenham Recreation Committee, which has three members from each town.

The vote came after about an hour of contentious debate on the proposal that was presented by town officials and consultants from Weston & Sampson. The project would have been paid for with Community Preservation funds.

Many opponents called for more research and for the project to be brought back to the annual Town Meeting in April. North Street resident Jay Burnham called for a motion to postpone the vote to the spring Town Meeting, but it failed.

Chebacco Road resident Bill Dery called the project an “elaborate and nonessential” amenity. He argued the current pool can be repaired for far less.

“The presentation we were just given depicts a very big and very, very nice pool with a lot of nice amenities,” Dery said. “There seems to be two things missing though: a castle and Mickey. What are they thinking? Spending $2.65 million for an amenity that serves a few hundred people for approximately 10 weeks.”

However, not everyone agreed.

“This project is the most impactful, most positive CPA project I’ve ever seen,” said Dave Carey, a former selectman. “It really looks like a beautiful project to bring the community together.”

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