Jun 02, 2010 Ami Olson Uncategorized
Camillus Park Pool will not open this season, but officials in two communities hope the controversial decision will create opportunities for residents in both Camillus and Jordan-Elbridge.
In Camillus, the deteriorating pool was the symptom of a larger problem: the Parks and Recreation Department currently has no comprehensive, big-picture plan for its parks and programs.
Choosing to keep the pool closed this season frees up both time and money for the town and will allow town officials, staffers and community members the opportunity to develop a master plan for the department, a process that is expected to begin next month, said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Bacon.
The Camillus Parks and Recreation Committee decided on May 17 not to open the Camillus Park Pool this year, drawing on thousands of town and village residents’ responses to a survey mailed last month to each Camillus household.
Surveys were returned by 32 percent of the more than 8,000 homes in Camillus, and showed the majority of residents were not willing to spend the $210,000 to $345,000 needed to bring the pool up to ADA compliance. The responses, along with a pool evaluation completed in 2007, also showed a drop in pool use over the previous decade; 1,859 responders claimed to not use the pool at all during the season.
While those who have spoken out against the closure are passionate about the pool, there has been only a handful of protestors, Bacon said.
Throughout the summer, Parks and Rec staff will begin cleaning up Camillus Park — cutting and maintaining the grass, improving picnic tables and grills and updating some of the playground equipment.
But Bacon’s vision is also long-term.
He pointed out that two years ago the department chose to discontinue the 30-year-old Caboose program, an old school bus filled with playgroud equipment and crafts that toured Camillus neighborhoods, in favor of a summer day camp program.
Last year, the line to register for the day camp ran down the driveway of Shove Park, he said, indicating the popularity of the program.
“I really think we’re going to be able to use this opportunity to create something,” he added.
The Camillus Parks and Recreation Committee meets next at 5:30 p.m. Thursday June 3 at the Camillus Municipal Building. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the development of the master plan for the parks and programs.
Jordan sees silver lining
In the meantime, the Veterans Memorial Pool at Jordan is poised to usher in significant new membership as the summer grows hotter and Camillus residents begin looking around for a new nearby swim facility.
The recently spruced-up Jordan pool offers new programs this summer, in addition to its low-cost Learn to Swim program, and continues to be a beloved asset to the community.
“Obviously we feel sorry for folks in that area because for us this is a tremendous asset,” Jordan Mayor Dick Platten said. “If we were to have to shut our pool down, I don’t know what our people would do for their kids.”
The Jordan pool, like the Camillus facility, has been operating for more than 50 years but received a renovation in the 1980s. Two years ago a splash park was added, and the grounds also boast basketball and volleyball courts and a concession stand.
Though the pool is owned and operated by the village of Jordan, the pool committee is completely volunteer-driven.
In light of a possible influx of new swimmers, committee member Betsy Plucinik said volunteers are still needed to help the pool run smoothly all summer.
In high demand are “water moms and dads,” parents or guardians who can be in the pool with the Learn to Swim students, but Plucinik said volunteers are needed to help with anything from paperwork to arts and crafts.
“We need any and all hands, even if they’re teenagers,” she added.
The two-week Learn to Swim program is open to any children who have been in a structured classroom environment and costs $20. Register at Jordan Village Hall or e-mail email@example.com for the form and more information.
The Veterans Memorial Pool at Jordan is located on Brutus Road. The pool will open for the season on June 29 and remain open daily from 12 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 17.
Camillus Park Pool, bottom, will remain closed this year. The facility needs extensive renovations, but a townwide survey showed most residents do not want to sink money into the pool. Meanwhile the Veterans Memorial Pool at Jordan, top, will open June 29 and expects increased membership this year, in addition to offering new programs for swimmers of all ages.