Sea Bright council turns sights on indoor pool for swim club

Revenues could
finance projects
to improve town

Staff Writer

Sea Bright council turns sights
on indoor pool for swim club
Revenues could
finance projects
to improve town
Staff Writer

SEA BRIGHT — It’s back to the drawing board for a proposed municipal swim club on the beachfront.

The Borough Council, which financed a feasibility study for an outdoor pool over a year ago, is now asking the same architect to do a "schematic design" for an indoor pool that could be used year-round.

After some hesitation, a contract for $6,530 was awarded by the council at its Aug. 3 meeting to Robert W. Adler & Associates, Pa., of West Long Branch, to do the schematic design, which is to include an updated feasibility study and incorporate a cost estimate, for an indoor pool.

Councilman William Gelfound, the point person on the pool project, told the council he was envisioning a 25-meter pool, the same as before, with sliding walls and a sliding roof that could be opened in the summer time.

Gelfound said he was prompted to pursue an indoor pool proposal when he was contacted, after the first study was done, by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School and Shore Regional High School which have swim teams and asked about the possibility of a year-round pool they could use.

He said it would be a very "high end ecological complex" with solar panels.

Instead of chlorine, he said, the pool would use a nonchlorine water treatment, curoxin. Asked about the price, he replied, "I don’t know if it’s less expensive (than chlorine), but it isn’t more expensive."

Asked later what a "schematic design" is, Gelfound said that is a plan that goes beyond a feasibility study to look into codes and state regulations.

In trying to sell the project to the council, Gelfound said the beach — and the pool, if built — were the only producers of revenues besides taxes.

He said the money realized from them could finance other needed projects.

"This could be a great avenue to get a lot of other things done in town," he said.

Councilman Charles Galloway asked how many cars Gelfound thought would be drawn to the swim club, for which parking would be needed.

"We could run into a problem with providing parking for the beach," he cautioned.

The swim club is proposed for the Peninsula House parking lot, which is owned by the borough and is adjacent to the municipal parking lot. It is used by some beachgoers along with the municipal parking lot.

Galloway said he wanted to know more about the parking component.

Councilwoman Maria Fernandes said she thought the first step should be to amend the feasibility study already done. By ordering a schematic plan, "the numbers add up," she said, expressing concern about the cost.

"It’s a completely different animal," Gelfound protested.

Fernandes asked that they hold off for at least one more meeting before awarding a construct for the schematic design.

Galloway joined her in asking that the council wait before acting.

But Gelfound pressed on and Councilman Andrew Mencinsky said he had no problem going forward with the schematic design for a year-round pool. He said the numbers in the initial feasibility study on an outdoor pool — although he didn’t have a lot of faith in them — would seem to support a year-round pool.

In the end, the council was persuaded to vote 5-0 in favor of awarding the contract to Adler that night. Councilwoman Dina Long was absent.

Adler’s initial feasibility study, completed in April 2003, held that a swim club with a main pool 25 meters long and a kiddie pool, could produce a profit of more than half a million dollars a year for the borough. He said the swim club complex could be built for just under $2.2 million.

He said the pool he designed was not gold plated and clad in granite.

"It’s not intended to be exclusive," he said at the time. "It’s intended to be within the reach of people in town."