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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.

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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