SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 5, 2013

Pool project fails by 2 votes

(Continued)

The pool project called for a six-lane lap pool with a zero-entry swim area, which allows people to enter the water by walking down a gradual slope, similar to a beach. It also included a kiddie pool, a new bathhouse, increased deck space and seating, a lifeguard station and reconfigured parking.

Part of the cost included reconstructing the septic system to handle the increased use.

The current pool was built in 1961 by the members of the American Legion and has a variety of drawbacks, including leaks, outdated equipment, lack of space and code issues, according to Weston & Sampson Aquatics Group, a firm hired to oversee the project. It is undersized for the needs of the community, said Cheri Ruane of Weston & Sampson.

Ruane said it would be cost-prohibitive to renovate the pool to meet current codes and standards.

Appaloosa Lane resident Nancy Allen spoke in favor of the pool, saying it would be a great investment for the town. She supported the size and scope of the project, noting that there are pools like this in municipalities all over the country.

“There are many, many community members within Hamilton and Wenham that don’t have access to pools,” she said. “The pool is a community place for people to enjoy, not just children, but for older people and individuals, as well.”

Another sticking point was the fact that Wenham has not decided how, or when, it might contribute to the project. Both towns share a recreation department.

“I think we need to spend time working with Wenham to come up with a common idea for the pool,” said resident Jack Hauck. Others questioned why Wenham would contribute to a project that Hamilton had already agreed to pay for.

While the pool proposal failed, residents approved $3.1 million in school boilers and window improvements last night. These projects now require approval from Wenham’s Town Meeting tonight and debt-exclusion overrides of Proposition 21/2 ballot votes from both towns to move forward.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.

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