Pittsfield readies for grand opening of town pool

Posted Jan. 26, 2009, at 10:48 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The town’s pool committee was busy this week finishing plans to complete the municipal pool’s bathhouse reconstruction and readying for a June grand opening.

Part of the grand opening will include a display of news articles, photographs and other memorabilia from the pool’s past.

The original pool was built in the 1950s and was replaced last fall with a new one — one built mostly with donations of money and in-kind services.

“To date we have raised $319,000,” Town Manager Kathryn Ruth told committee members Monday night. “We have spent $310,511.”

Ruth said that if the in-kind donations were included, the value of the donations would be well above $400,000.

A state of Maine Land and Water Conservation grant provided $25,000 for lighting, fencing and paving. There is about $955 left in that grant, Ruth said, and it will be used to purchase recycled plastic picnic tables and benches.

Paul Bertrand, head of the committee and a devoted community volunteer for whom the pool is named, said, “There is a lot left to do, but I think it’ll all come together quickly this spring.”

The remaining to-do list includes much of the interior work in the bathhouse, Bertrand said, including all plumbing, electrical, partitions, creation of a reception area, a ceiling for the boiler room and a first aid area. The bathhouse will have separate washrooms and changing facilities for boys, girls and families. The exterior land-scaping also remains undone.

“It’s going to be down to the wire with money,” Bertrand said.

Ruth said, “There are a lot of people that cannot write out a $5,000 [donation] check but they can build things.” She said the project would need picnic tables, benches and boxes for personal belongings in the bathhouse.

“There are a lot of ways that people can contribute,” she said.

Because the pool and bathhouse will have a larger overhead than in the past, Ruth said a fee is being proposed for pool users.

“We need to plan out the summer programs, the lessons, the senior swim and so on and then go to the council with a proposed fee,” she said. She explained that a local organization would be sought to sponsor children who cannot pay.

Committee member Dawn Dugas said there are parents who drop their children at the pool at 8 a.m. and pick them up at 4 p.m. “This becomes their summer day care,” she said. “Maybe a fee will help deter some of that.”

Ruth said anyone who has photographs or memorabilia for the grand opening display may drop them at the town office or call 487-3136 for information. Items will be returned if the owner wants.

The committee will meet again Monday, Feb. 16, to plan fundraisers.

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