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New Underwood Pool Designs Given Public Debut Jan. 16

Public participation critical in what design is presented to voters in April's Town Election.

The first look at the future of the town's historic pool will take place next week as the Underwood Pool Building Committee is holding a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library's Assembly Room to bring the community up to date on the design of the proposed $4.5 million pool and pool house to replace the current facility that opened in 1912.

According to Committee Chair Anne Paulsen, Bargmann Hendrie and Archetype, Inc., the design team hired by the committee, will present updated plans for the pool complex, showing the suggested location of the pool and the pool houses as well as the design of two new pools; one for very young residents and parents and another for lap swimming and diving. The two pool set-up will allow for activities to take place while swimming lessons are underway and the separate filtration systems will allow the pool to be open at all times, said Paulsen.

After receiving input on the design at this meeting, the Building Committee will present schematic designs to the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 27 so the participation by citizens at this meeting is crucial to the final plans for the Underwood Pool. 

Two million dollars has already been set aside from the Community Preservation Act for the new pool and there will be a question on the ballot at the April 1st town election seeking the remaining $2.5 million in a debt exclusion.

The Building Committee is working on a tight timetable as the existing pool has passed its useful life and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the town's Health Department will not allow the town to continue to use it without some confidence that Belmont is working to replace the pool, said Paulsen.

"Even with that guarantee the town is not absolutely sure it will receive another waiver so moving quickly on the design and construction of a new pool is key to maintaining this important amenity in our town," she said.

Waverley January 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM
I think we need to debate the merits of spending $4.5 million on a new pool that will be used three months of the year. As it is, the high school pool has been closed for over a week because of mechanical issues. Perhaps we need to consider building a new year round facility where the current high school tennis courts are located. A bubble could be put over the facility during the cold/off season months and taken down during the summer season. There would be parking at the high school lot for summer use. A nearby town recently built a 10 lane pool with two diving boards that could be the model for Belmont to use. The cost for that particular structure was $2.5 million (for YEAR ROUND USE)...as opposed to $4.5 million for 3 months of the year. The debate has been ongoing but I think it's not too late to shift focus to a new and more optimal plan. If we as a town are going to provide non-essential services, the town should do so in a cost effective way and also make sure the services/resources available are reliable.

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