An open letter from Chrystal Schivell:

I’m writing every Borough resident I know to ask for your support of the renovation of Community Park pool – for the sake of the kids it serves – and to let members of Borough Council know of your support. Council’s reluctance to approve the bond ordinance (even to introduce it required Mildred Trotman’s breaking a 3-3 tie) may very well result in the loss of a swim season since it’s likely that the main pool will soon break down irreparably. That would be inconvenient for regular pool-users but devastating for the 100+ members of the swim/dive team and the 250 day campers and their counselors. It’s my understanding that unless Council approves the ordinance on Feb. 22, the pool cannot be renovated in time for summer 2012. That means two years (or more if the process has to start all over) of hoping the pool won’t break. Quite a risk for the community.

One reason for Council’s reluctance may have been that the plans were not finalized because the Ad Hoc Committee of architects had not finished with their input. Certainly the initial plans, especially for the locker rooms, upset many members of the community. I checked with Ted Ernst of the Rec Dept, and the final plan (to be presented at Council’s Feb. 22 meeting) has locker rooms of 2000 sq.ft.or 77% of the current area (which in the ladies’ locker room will be more than enough space.) There will be an opening in the roof 12’x16′ that can be covered with plywood in winter. (The Ad Hoc committee worked hard to get this compromise.) There will be ventilation at the bottom of the walls and an 18″ clerestory between the roof and top of the walls for further ventilation. (The clerestory was always in the Rec Dept’s plan; AC was never envisioned for the locker rooms.) There will be individual shower stalls with controls to allow one to adjust water temperature, dressing “rooms” similar to those we now have, and a concrete floor.

The controversial meeting room is now a pavilion. AC will be installed only in the administrative building. A family changing room (so kids don’t have to look at adults of the opposite sex) will be included. I’m not sure about the snack bar, but I believe it will be somewhat bigger and definitely modernized. The exterior of the buildings will mimic what’s there now.

I don’t know how you feel about changes to the pools, but I support them because they serve a demographic that is not currently served: namely, teenagers and kids too old for the wading pool but too short for the main pool (the kids who collect on the steps). The family bay will give kids of all heights a chance to inch their way into the water, thus gaining the confidence to swim. And the addition to the diving well will afford teenagers the opportunity to play water polo or water basketball and to slide. (One slide only). The wading pool has to be redone because it is out of compliance now – that’s not a change. The main pool will not be changed except for the break in the wall at its shallow end where it connects to the family bay. As to landscaping, none of the trees will go. Bushes will, but that will afford opportunity for grass and shade structures. I think we actually gain grass in the new plan and lose currently unused concrete. I know that the Ad Hoc committee has been negotiating with the Rec Dept about landscaping as well as buildings. At the Council meeting on Jan. 25, four members of the Ad Hoc committee expressed approval of the new, compromise plans and asked Council to pass the ordinance and get on with renovation.

I don’t know why Borough Council is being so cautious, especially given that they spent almost $500,000 on the Harrison Street park, which serves far fewer residents. I do know that they need to hear from constituents who support the plan. That’s why I’m writing.

If you’re willing to support the plan, please let Kevin Wilkes, David Goldfarb (, Roger Martindell (, and Barbara Trelstad ( know. They are the cautious ones, and they need to know that their constituents support the expenditure of $1.9 million for the pool. It’s a lot of money, but Bob Bruschi said at the last meeting that the Borough can afford it. To me, it’s worthwhile because, like the library, it serves whoever wants its services – and for kids in the summer, especially kids who can’t travel, it’s the place to find friends and relief from the heat.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Best regards,

Chrystal Schivell