Naugatuck’s Hop Brook pool to be closed this summer

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Swimmers dive into Hop Brook Pool in Naugatuck to cool off from the heat in this archived photo. RA ARCHIVE
NAUGATUCK — The Hop Brook Pool will not open to swimmers this summer while borough officials research and debate whether and how to replace the crumbling basin.

Members of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses and the Board of Finance said in a joint meeting Monday they did not want to spend about $250,000 for repairs that would only last five to seven years.

Completely replacing the 40-year-old pool and repairing the bathhouse is estimated at $750,000, said James Stewart, director of public works.

Some board members said they were opposed to the idea of keeping the pool open at all.

“This is a facility that’s being used seven weeks out of the year,” finance board member Daniel Sheridan Jr. said. “I think this comes in very low on the list.”

The fire and public works departments need vehicles, the Board of Education will ask for an increased budget and the borough’s tax base remained flat this year, Sheridan said.

Burgess Ronald S. San Angelo balked at the cost estimate for a new pool.

“I would not support a new pool at all for that number,” San Angelo said. “It serves a small part of the community, and it’s an awful lot of money for that small piece of that community, given the other problems we do have.”

The joint boards allocated $100,000 last year to repair the pool. The public works department spent $15,000 of that money to commission an inspection report from Clough Harbor & Associates, the Albany-based engineering firm that installed the pool more than 40 years ago.

Stewart asked to use the remainder of the money for a consultant to design a new pool, which he estimated would cost about $80,000. Design costs are typically 10 percent of the cost of a project, Stewart said.

Board members said Stewart’s design estimate was unnecessarily expensive and asked him to research pools in other towns.

“I would expect that all the towns that have these types of pools have pretty much the same type of design,” San Angelo said.

Stewart said he would come back to the joint boards with more price quotes for the design and the replacement of the pool.

The pool’s concrete and finish are deteriorating, and the plumbing needs repairs, according to the original engineers. Freeze-thaw cycles over the years caused most of the damage, Stewart said.

If the joint boards approve a replacement pool, construction could begin in July and end by May 2013, according to a park and recreation department budget request.

Hop Brook is the borough’s only outdoor pool. The recreation department sold nearly 4,500 tickets for the pool last summer, earning about $7,900.

The borough plans to move its lifeguards and swim instructors to open the Naugatuck High School pool this summer to the public.