Photo courtesy of Needham Park and Recreation Department
Although the weather outside has few people thinking of swimming, some Needham officials are focusing their thoughts on the town-owned Rosemary Pool.
The pool is due for some big changes in the next five years. A consulting firm that has been studying the outdated public pool for a year will present four options next week on how to proceed with either renovating, replacing, or removing the watering hole by 2018.
The meeting will take place Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on Needham Town Hall's second floor.
"The pool is 41 years old -- it’s ready for whatever the next chapter is in its life," said Patricia Carey, director of Needham's Park and Recreation Department. "This study is being done to help us choose what to do next."
The study's findings suggest a range of options from removing the pool entirely -- which would leave the town without a public swimming option or have officials redirect swimmers to the adjacent lake -- to renovating it or replacing it, either at the same site or a different one.
Carey said if construction is needed, it would need to be done by 2018 due to upcoming state requirements on lake-draining.
Carey said her department has earmarked about $8 million in the town's capital five-year budget for the pool's renovations, but noted that if extensive changes are done the final price tag would prove much higher.
"If it’s a brand new pool, and there's a huge renovation of the building and parking lot, that would probably exceed the $8 million," she said, also noting that certain parts of the project may qualify for Community Preservation Act funds.
The pool, which generally opens around Father's Day in June and closes on the last Friday of August, had to be temporarily shut down twice last summer after both major pumps broke on separate occasions.
Carey said the study was already underway before that happened, but noted that there is a significant strain on the pumps due to the method of draining lake water and filtering it into the pool.
"One thing that a renovation would make easier is we wouldn’t have to drain the lake," she said. "We have to wait to fill it naturally because of that, so it takes a lot of time and makes it difficult to maintain."
The pool proves historically popular among Needham residents, Carey said, and residents would likely be upset if the town simply did away with the facility.
"The people who go tend to love it," she said. "There are certainly residents, whether they use it or not, who feel there should be something for summer swimming in the town."
The Rosemary Pool written feasibility study will be made available on Needham's official website by the end of December, Carey said. Officials on the Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen will review the options before making a decision and moving forward, Carey said,
Any financing would also need approval from Town Meeting, she said.
For more information, visit Needham's official town website.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org