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Public Hearing Participants Want A Better Pool

Needham could get a new pool and remodeled bathhouse on the Rosemary pool property if Monday night’s public hearing is any indication of the future.

Currently the area is operating under an extension of a Mass Department of Environmental Protection permit. The current extension will end Sept. 15, 2018.

At the meeting, environmental and infrastructure consulting firm Weston & Sampson presented four options for the area. The town could remove the pool completely with alternate plans, make minor renovations to the pool and bathhouse, make major renovations to the pool and bathhouse or fully replace the pool and remodel the bathhouse.

No specific price tags were included with each option, though the presentation shows that pool and building removal would be the cheapest. To remove the pool and restore the lake to swimming quality would be very expensive. Renovation of the pool and bathhouse would be a moderate amount of money. To fully replace the pool and remodel the bathhouse would require a lot of funds. The project, using the available options, could cost $750,000 to $1,250,000.

The Commissioners noted that they thought the project could be eligible for Community Preservation Funds and that they would be open to a private/public funding model.

“There was overwhelming support for Option 4 which is the full build out with and without options for indoor swimming,” said Nancy Sterling, Board member of the Community Center of Needham. “Many citizens spoke on their vision for Rosemary and there was specific discussion of amenities like a wading pool, a diving area, width of lanes, a snack bar, a viewing area, community meeting space, etc.”

The Needham High School boys swim team was in attendance at the meeting in favor of a better facility. Their coach, Adam Cole, said in the “Blue Sky” comments that the team needs a competitive pool for the swim team to practice and have meets. They are currently at the mercy of Babson College as to when they can practice.

According to a survey issued by Weston & Sampson, the biggest reason residents don’t use the pool is because of the appearance of the complex. Other reasons were restrictive open swim hours and lack of space around the pool. Most people would like to have more shady areas, a full service snack bar and a larger deck. Things people enjoy about the pool are the shallow area, deep water area and swim lesson area.

The current pool is 21,000 square feet. There is an ADA ramp for entry. The shallow area is 5,600 square feet, while the practice area is 2,500 square feet and the swimming lesson area is 5,800 square feet. There are six 50 meter lap lanes and a jumping board. There is no paved pool deck, but there is 6,000 square feet of sand beach. There are 45 parking spaces. The area lacks storm water treatment, ADA compliant route from the parking lot to the entrance  and a vehicular drop-off entrance.

The proposal is to make the pool 19,000 square feet with a 4,800 square foot shallow area, 3,000 square foot practice area and 3,000 square foot swimming lesson area. A slide and 9,000 square foot paved deck is also proposed. A better route from the parking lot to pool and water treatment is also in the plan.

The next steps are to bring the report to a meeting of the Permanent Public Building Committee Dec. 16 and then the Board of Selectmen Dec. 17.

The complete presentation is located in the photos section.

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