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.