Moriello Pool was finally opened last Friday, July 7, although the kiddie pool will need to have its chemicals balanced before it’s deemed ready. That’s according to Deputy New Paltz Town Supervisor Dan Torres, who made the announcement in lieu of a town board meeting last Thursday night.
The council meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum, but Torres lingered to give the pool update. He explained that he and other officials were “frustrated” about the late opening, despite attempts to address the pool’s issues as early as last November.
“The buck stops with us,” Torres said, but noting that there were “lots of promises” made about when the work would be complete, which didn’t pan out. He expressed an interest in discussing the contractor’s performance at a future meeting.
Christopher Marx, who oversees buildings and grounds for the town, said that the “big delay this year” in the pool’s opening was not the liner replacement, which was a known issue, but the failing concrete discovered when the old liner was removed.
Torres called these repairs a “big fix,” contrasting it to the “band-aid” repairs which he said had been used since before he took office. It’s the deputy supervisor’s hope that the $130,000 spent getting the pool ready this year will resolve many of the ongoing issues.
Another topic of discussion for a future meeting is whether or not residents who paid $180 for a season pass should be refunded any of that money due to the later-than-usual opening. Moriello Pool was scheduled to open for Memorial Day weekend. Torres said he was open to a partial refund — he suggested 10% might be appropriate — but that the idea must be approved by a majority of council members.
The closing date will remain the same — Labor Day weekend — as much of the pool staff is made up of high school and college students who return to classes by then.
According to town pool director Bill Russell, the liner replacement should solve the problem they’ve had with opening for the season on time this year and last.
In 2016 the pool liner was repaired rather than replaced, because when draining the pool in preparation to install a new liner, it was clear that fixing the issues that turned up then would have resulted in closing the pool for the remainder of the season, Russell said. The liner was patched to keep the pool open.
This year, the liner was scheduled for replacement earlier this spring, but the unusually rainy weather we’ve had wreaked havoc on the work schedule, and construction workers were unable to weld PVC pipes or do similar work until the rain ended. The crew was finally able to complete the job last week.
The $125,000 cost to replace the liner will be offset by a $75,000 grant the town received in March with the help of state Senator John Bonacic. The funding was secured through the State and Municipal Facilities Program, money that was appropriated in the 2016-2017 state budget.
The town and village of New Paltz will share the $50,000 portion of the cost that’s not being covered by the state grant.
The pool serves more than 35,000 visitors annually. In addition to the recreational opportunities, it provides 44 seasonal jobs, most of them for teens and young adults.
The previous liner was installed in 2001, said Russell.
The delayed opening to the pool has affected many members of the community, from the Seahawks swim team that practices there to the YMCA rec program and swimming lessons. “Everybody’s been waiting a long time for the pool to open,” Russell added. “But we shouldn’t have any problems now related to what we had last year and this year. We’re going to do the best we can from here on out.”