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West Caldwell Dives Back Into Town Pool Talks

Township plans to evaluate cost of modernizing each pool.

The topic of town pools re-emerged at Tuesday night’s West Caldwell council meeting.

With the and pools now closed for the season, the governing body plans to evaluate how much it would cost to modernize each facility.

The mayor and council floated the idea of closing one pool in order to make the other a state-of-the-art facility. For financial reasons, the township might have to sell one property to pay for work on the other.

The pool utility does not generate enough money to pay for capital improvements, West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta Jr. said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Township Administrator Jock Watkins told Patch revenue from pool memberships was $533,503.30 for the 2011 season, while the expenditures so far this year are $383,170.81.

Watkins said there are seven categories of memberships. The total number of memberships by town for 2011 were: West Caldwell, 907; Caldwell, 443; and Roseland, 108.

Before moving forward with any plan for the pools, the governing body would like to know how much the evaluations would cost. Watkins was asked to investigate and report those figures back to the council.

Without a full analysis the future of the pools remains unclear.

“We are not completely sold that we need to close a pool,” Tempesta said.

Watkins suggested at the start of the discussion that the mayor and council decide which facility they would like to expand and make the premiere facility. The mayor and council, however, felt that both locations need to be considered. (Councilman Stephen Wolsky was absent from Tuesday's meeting.)

One vision is to connect Westville Pool with the adjacent James Caldwell High School property and create a “sportsplex," said Councilman Dominick Aiello. The councilman said he plans to share renderings with other council members to get a better idea of what such a facility might look like.

“It could be a beautiful, attractive facility,” Tempesta said. “We want to do it right. We want to build something we could be proud of.”

Meanwhile, the township has received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to make parking at Westville pool handicapped accessible. The $76,000 grant would pay for drainage, leveling, resurfacing and painting of an area by the entrance gate to be designated for handicapped parking. The grant needs to be used by the end of the year and the money cannot be redirected.

The pools are run by the West Caldwell Recreation Department, which accepts members from West Caldwell, Caldwell and Roseland.

Chris Coughlin October 06, 2011 at 02:50 AM
Teresa: I am not sure that the either of the pools can be sold. They are listed by West Caldwell on the NJ DEP Green Acres ROSI inventory. They are not listed as funded properties, meaning they didn't receive direct project or acquisition funding. However, they are part of the contract that the town would have signed with the DEP Green Acres program if an when they applied for and accepted Green Acres funding. This point would have to be clarified if they were listed at the time Richard and Wrensch Park received their funding. If they are bound by the contract, they must be retained for use and designated as Recreational and Outdoor Space. Was this clarified at the meeting?
Cj October 06, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Maybe if you lower the fee more people would join . In turn you would get more revenue. Seems to me in this economy there are many that just cant afford it. Everything is going up but the paychecks
Lisa Lionheart October 06, 2011 at 03:30 PM
100% agree with your comment.
Christine Corliss October 07, 2011 at 01:50 AM
I wonder how many people would not join the pool if there was only one pool. With two pools, on the days and evenings that I have been there, they are quite crowded. I wonder how many of us would simply not join if there was only one crowded pool to frequent.
Akiko Tawarada-Axe October 07, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Do we really need a Sportsplex? Would the town be able to maintain it from years to come? We would join the pool because it is a seasonal thing, but I don't think we will join the Sportsplex.
Cj October 07, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Akiko you are exactly right. Sounds great doesnt it. Look how Caldwell struggled with the Community Center. They are supposedly doing better but I am sure not to where they want to be. You think West Caldwell buiding some big sport complex is ever going to make the money back. Or make a profit. If the pools are down in membership so will this new venture. I think its a dream that is just not in reality right now with this ecomomy. People are all finding it hard to live right now. Losing money in the stock market. Its just not a great idea right now. I think trying to maybe lower the prices of both pools, get out and solicit new memberships would be a better idea. Keep them both open. I know even for myself the couple membership I found to much for the use I would get so I did not join. Lower the membership for two and I might have joined. Get creative. Join every night after 4pm and weekends for couples. Come up with a good price and lots of seniors or working people would join. I would love paying a smaller price to come down after 4pm until closing and weekends if I choose.
Ed Barrett October 08, 2011 at 02:12 AM
It seems to me that we don't have enough open/recreational space available in town as it is. Why would we ever consider closing or selling the already limited resources we have? Shouldn't this type of decision be put to the taxpayers?
Mike Maguire October 08, 2011 at 12:58 PM
The possible closing of Cedar Street Pool for financial reasons to pay for improvements at Westville Pool is not the answer. What needs to happen is to figure out ways to generate income at both pools to help with maintenance. While the teen splash parties are a nice option, we should think about building on that and opening up the facilities for a movie night on a weekly basis. The poolside dining that was put in at Westville was a great feature during the tail end of the summer, that should be bought to Cedar Street. If the dining options are increased and prices kept in line, that could bring in more people and increase potential spending. Cedar Street was closed due to Hurricane Irene during the last week of the season and the township stated that guest badges would not be permitted due to possible over crowding -- that will be a primary problem should we be reduced to one pool in town. Westville Pool has a good amount of space that could house a field/practices during the times when the facility is closed. I am fairly certain any number of organizations would jump at the opportunity to use that open space for a fee if it was an option. Those fees could then be used to offset the costs of maintenance at the pools. We need more public input on this and I would be willing to sit on and lead any committees that want to Protect Our Pools and take them into the future.
Cj October 08, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Nice comment Mike. Sounds like you would be a great candidate to sit in on any meetings or as you said lead them. If they could get a committee to do this just maybe giving it another year to try and bring this revenue up would not be a bad idea.
Kevin Kinney October 11, 2011 at 06:23 PM
We certainly don't need another community center. The Caldwell Community Center is not used to capacity as is so how can we justify another complex. We have enough options in the area as far as fitness centers are concerned. Are we trying to drive these businesses out of town with a new town "sponsored" Gym? As far as fields are concerned, there is room at Westville already without taking out the pool. And if we turf Bonnell, we would solve a lot of access problems for local team sports. Maybe if we consolidated some services with our surrounding neighbors (ie Caldwell, North Caldwell, Essex Fells, Roseland), we might be able to find some of the money needed for renovations.
Dan Cipoletti October 13, 2011 at 07:51 PM
One of the many benefits of our community is the pool and the enjoyable outdoor experience. Closing one of the pools will lead to overcrowding and lessen the experience that we all currently enjoy. I agree with the comments above that additional revenue opportunities should be considered and exhausted before our community's quality of life is lessened. A vote for Mike Maguire to lead this effort.
NancyV October 13, 2011 at 08:29 PM
I agree that closing one pool is not the answer. For years I have attended the pool and if you close one pool it will be way overcrowded. This summer on hot weekend days the cedar street pool was crowded to the point you could barely swim in the pool. Also the notion of keeping westville pool open is going to alienate the folks like me with young children. My child can't stand in the shallow end of the Westville pool and it is so small but the cedar street pool kiddie pool is perfect and large enough many children. I can say if you close cedar st pool my family will not be members. One more comment so it seems as though the pools made over $150k this year. The council has made comments in the past that the pools do not make any money. That doesn't make any sense.
GP March 28, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I agree with everyone above and don't think you should close Cedar Street Pool, that is by far the better of the two pools. Westville is swamped with bees, dirty, the bathrooms are gross and the pool is crowded already. We don't need a Sprortsplex, we have the Community Center! Lower the membership fee and clean it up. Also, I don't know if the pools run the food stands but they bring in a fare amount of money and that could help a bit with fees? If the Cedar pool closes and we are all to share one pool, I don't think we will be members this year!

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