What would it take to make Wallingford’s Community Pool viable again? After all, it’s been around for generations, in one form or another, but in recent years interest in the pool has declined. About 5,300 pool passes were sold in 2010, but less than half that number last year, and only 1,960 went out in 2017.
Suggested park uses include a splash pad, playground equipment, a fitness playground, sand volleyball court, food service concession stand, refurbished bath house, picnic area and seasonal entertainment pavilion. Would all or some of those features do the trick? Children seem to love splash pads, and of course they would bring their parents with them.
The Town Council recently approved $625,000 for the design of a new Community Pool, on a 7-1 vote, and it’s difficult to believe that, having spent that much, they aren’t serious about going through with some kind of major rehab plan. The town plans to keep the existing pool open this summer.
TBLA Architecture, of Chester, was the successful bidder for the design work, which includes the initial conceptual and schematic design, town and state agency permits and oversight of actual construction.
Still, there are at least two ways of looking at Community Pool.
Is it an unfortunate expense, a drag on town finances that should probably be allowed to deteriorate and eventually be repurposed?
Or is Community Pool a local treasure, a potentially exciting community asset that could attract more public use, and more revenue from selling passes and from a concession stand, and could become a more vital community center during the warm months? In which case people might be allowed, or even encouraged, to buy passes online.
Although it would be a mistake to think that Community Pool will ever become entirely self-supporting, the recent vote suggests that the Town Council is tending toward the latter, more dynamic view of this venerable civic asset.
And that’s a very encouraging sign.
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