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Community pool closed this summer

Danielle Ryan

(2/15) The Emmitsburg community pool will not be open this summer due to the construction of a brand new pool. The Board of Commissioners and Town staff was faced with a decision to replace the pool completely or continue with repairs. Either decision would have resulted in the inability for the Town to open the pool this summer.

The much-needed pool renovation began in November 2016, after receiving a $217,000 grant and approval from the Board. A $123,000 Make N Waves Inc. contract was accepted and work began later that month.

At the time of the bid, there were some unknown costs, which included the repair of the leak, as the origin of the leak was unknown. After running several tests, the Town was presented with some bad news. The tests showed several faults in the plumbing lines, and the entire plumbing apparatus was not up to code. The pool also sustained some beam damage, and an overwhelming number of cracks in the pools’ plaster caused concern. Four layers of plaster were surrounding the pool, all of which would need to be removed in order to continue with the demolition.

Make N Waves representative Dylan Daugherity said that all the plumbing needed to be replaced and a new deck would need to be constructed. Unfortunately, as Daugherity noted, it appeared that the job wasn’t done correctly the first time, and the pool wasn’t maintained properly.

To date, the Town has spent $55,000 on the renovation. This includes the demolition thus far, special tests run, and the hiring of a leak specialist. The estimated cost of continuing repairs and demolition would be, at minimum, $240,650, as they foresaw an estimated $117,650 in additional costs to the renovation on top of the original $123,000 bid from Make N Waves.

The Board was faced with the decision to continue with the renovation, or completely budget a brand new pool. Make N Waves estimated the cost of a new pool to be $369,000. Adding in the money already spent on the project, a new pool would cost $424,700.

The Town had to find a way to fund the remaining balance of $207,500. Town staff presented the Board with two options: paying for the new pool in house or taking out a loan to cover the costs. Town Manager Cathy Willets noted that the Town already has ten open loans, and taking out an additional loan could incur $11,400 to $32,800 in interest depending on the payback option chosen. The Town could completely fund the remaining cost internally, through fund 2. There are funds set aside in several accounts, five line items of which were chosen to pull money from for the funding of the pool renovation, if the Board were to choose this option. There is also $23,000 left from the pool contract this fiscal year as well as an estimated $44,000 from not having to implement a pool management system this summer.

Commissioner Tim O’Donnell asked fellow Commissioners if they wanted to see the project placed out for bid, as opposed to choosing Make N Waves’ offer. Willets commented that her main concern with re-bidding the project was that Make N Waves’ bid was already public, so the Town may not receive a truly competitive bidding process. Also, Make N Waves is already familiar with the project, as they have been working on it since November.

Commissioners Sweeney, Buckman and Blanchard voted in favor of the Make N Waves change order in the amount of $369,500, and Commissioner O’Donnell voted against it.

The new pool will be completely ADA compliant including a beach entry for wheelchairs. The Board also discussed the possibility of lights around the pool or within the pool to allow for extended pool hours, and the possible addition of a sliding board. These features are not set in place, and would be an additional future cost, but could provide more of a draw for visitors using the pool.

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