Feasibility of Aquatics Center discussed for near future
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Feb. 7, 2014
The long-talked-about idea of Glastonbury building an aquatics facility may be inching closer to becoming a reality. At the Town Council meeting on Jan. 28, the council heard from Town Manager Richard Johnson that there is an option in the town's Capital Improvement Project budget to fund a $50,000 feasibility analysis.
Johnson said the cost of such a project has not yet been assessed, but that the project would be more elaborate than would a project of simply adding a pool. “One of the things you'd have to look at is to try to identify the scope,” Johnson said, adding that the first step would be to look at aquatics centers in other towns and perhaps other states.
Councilman Whit Osgood said he has heard many residents speak to the need of an additional aquatics facility, but said that rather than paying for a study, town staff should do some preliminary assessments of costs and feasibility. Councilwoman Jill Barry asked how making that change could affect the timeline and the cost of the study.
Johnson said the in-house study would cover the general scope of the project, including size and square-footage. A referendum in November of 2015 would be possible, but the council would have to look at the results of the study and then assess how to proceed after gathering that knowledge.
Susie Hoyt, the swimming coach for the GHS boys' and girls' swim teams, said there are many reasons why the town needs another year-round swimming facility. The current pool at GHS, she said, is the only pool in town usable from September to June, and is so overbooked that personnel have trouble finding time to maintain the pool.
“The only time the pool can be closed for any length of time is in August, when the summer programs have wound down and the fall programs are waiting to begin,” Hoyt said. “Even then, the only way they can afford to do that is if the Grange and Addison [pools], and Eastbury Pond are still open.”
Five private clubs regularly use the pool at GHS, with about 750 swim team members, plus more than 250 on the town team. This causes the town to rent time at Trinity College at a cost of more than $12,000. The town team also must turn away members, who then join teams in other towns, including East Hartford, West Hartford and Tolland.
“A larger competition pool would solve these problems,” Hoyt said. “We would have the time and space for all of these programs, plus other ones that we've only dreamed about.”
Hoyt added that Glastonbury gives lessons to about 2,000 kids and 40 adults in a given year. The GHS team also has no JV or freshman team, because it would cause further scheduling conflicts.
“We need a new pool like the Jamaican bobsled team needs a new bobsled to take them to the Sochi Olympics,” said Maureen Mastroianni, president of the Glastonbury Swim Team Parent Organization, adding that her organization is ready to assist the town in whatever way they can.
“It concerns everybody – from infants to 90-year-olds,” Hoyt said, adding that she felt an aquatics center would be self-sustainable, and that there is a build-a-pool program through USA Swimming that would assist in assessing that sustainability.
No action was taken, but the matter is still part of the Capital Improvement Project budget discussions.