Moriello Pool in New Paltz will not open until after the start of summer

Young swimmers waiting to dive in at Moriello Pool. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Young swimmers waiting to dive in at Moriello Pool. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Moriello Pool won’t be open until after the start of summer, according to New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez, and not the “unofficial” start, either: the problems with the liner can’t be fixed until at least June 24, after the summer solstice, and that means the pool’s projected opening date is now June 30. According to recreation director Bill Russell, that’s a week after the pool hours would be moving to seven days a week most years.

The problem, Bettez reported at a special meeting of the Town Board held last Thursday, is the difficulty in getting any response from someone at a qualified pool-repair company at this time of year. “To get someone to return our calls takes weeks,” he said. Board members had previously authorized Chris Marx, in his capacity as supervisor of buildings and grounds, to work with vendors to get the liner repaired, but the problems were discovered during pre-season inspections, during the busiest season for these companies. Getting a response from “a pool guy in May” is no easy task, he said, and took considerable effort on the part of his confidential secretary, Kathy Preston.


What’s wrong is that there’s a leak in the liner of the main pool near one set of steps, and it’s possible that the other stairs also have one. Reading from an estimate he obtained from a contractor approved by the manufacturer, Bettez said that it would cost $11,712 to fix one leak, or $16,387 for two. These liners can last up to 20 years, and as this one was installed 16 years ago, the supervisor also requested an estimate for a replacement, which came in at $111,752.

Council member Jeff Logan recounted the advice provided by a pool specialist who works at Splashdown Beach in Fishkill. “He was fearful where the water would go” if the existing leaks were to become worse, or if repairs performed by town employees weren’t up to snuff. “It’s not a weekend warrior project,” he said, and requires a specialist.

The supervisor stressed that these delays have everything to do with the busy season, and nothing to do with intermunicipal politics. Moriello Park is co-owned by town and village, and under the existing agreement town money pays for maintenance and the village will be asked to contribute towards capital expenses. While there might be some debate about whether fixing leaks would qualify as a capital expense, Bettez said that he’s prepared to pay for liner repairs with town funds and then opening talks with Village Board members over pitching in. “We have every intention of opening,” he said. “We know the importance.”

Bettez was seeking approval to spend up to $17,000, because “we may never get them to come back” if they aren’t allowed to execute the necessary repairs starting on June 24. The work itself is expected to take up to three days, and then the pool will have to be filled and the pump — which itself was worked on in hopes of reducing the noise that has led to several complaints — must be tested, hence the June 30 date before anyone can jump in. The kiddie pool is fine, and will be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m., and every day as of June 25.

That’s going to be a challenge for members and organizers of the Seahawks swim team, said the organization’s treasurer, Kevin Saunders. The team’s first meet is scheduled for July 2, and it’s a lot more difficult to arrange a different practice space than it would be with, for example, a baseball team. “We can’t just practice in a field,” he said, and the best alternative won’t be available due to bureaucratic hurdles. He explained that not only would using the SUNY New Paltz pool be “very pricey for us” because it wasn’t budgeted for, since the Seahawks team members are minors there are numerous approvals that must be granted, including at the governor’s office. All the paperwork would take about a month. Bettez offered to contact the governor’s office to find out if there’s any way to expedite that process under the circumstances.

In addition, construction delays at the Rosendale pool make it unlikely the meet between the Rapids and the Seahawks will happen there, making Moriello the next logical option. Based on current projections that might be possible, team members will still need a pool where they can spend “hours a day, six days a week” in the water, according to Saunders.

The hope that Bettez is holding out is that this liner can be repaired sufficiently to give it 2-3 more years of life. In the fall, he wants a full inspection to assess its condition, followed by get formal bids in response to a request for proposals for a replacement liner. “We’re all on the same page here,” he said.