I guess everyone has to give his or her opinion on the Underwood Pool, so I might as well too.
For reference, a few articles:
- Underwood Diving Board Supporters Flock to Facebook
- Underwood Pool's Future at Selectmen on Monday (July 2)
- Moving Underwood Pool Could Remove New Library Hurdle
- Future uncertain for Belmont’s 100-year-old Underwood Pool (Globe)
I've lived in or next to Belmont for 25 years, and I've never been a fan of that pool. It first struck me as just a "cement pond" (ala Beverly Hillbillies), or a set from a 1930s movie.
Questions of why the Health Department now started enforcing modern codes were quite valid. But what I'd ask first is why they were not enforcing these when they were issued. When new rules about pool drains were introduce about 4 years ago, the Health Dept forced us modify the Higginbottom (high school) pool, without delay. (It was closed for a few weeks to do that work.)
My kids, now in high school, got tired of the Underwood Pool at around age 10. On hot days I did try to encourage them, but after a 10-minute dip to cool off, they (and I) had enough. It just was not compelling enough, and not especially pleasant.
Having spent a few years serving on the Warrant Committee, I had heard from quite a few who know the intimate details how close to failure the facility has been for years, including the pool structure itself, its mechanical systems, and the bath house. There was sometimes wondering-out-loud whether the WC would bail out the pool if something major failed, the same way we spent a significant chunk patching the skating rink. (another decaying facility)
I don't know when it turned into a museum piece. I do understand people's lementing the loss of a reminder of their own childhood of decades past. (And I'm probably a bit more sentimental than most people think.) But references to "right of passage" are too much, and just elicit an eye-roll from me.
It is definitely worth the effort to explore buiding a new pool uphill from current one. That will surely be a hard sell for the neighbors, and the Planning Board will surely micro-manage that too.
Belmont deserves a real, safe, and healthy pool, but we do not need a museum. When this one fails - and it will soon - we should build a real pool, or none at all.