EAST LONGMEADOW – At long last, the Pine Knoll Recreation Area pool is open and now it’s time to celebrate.|
The Recreation Department will host a grand opening event for the pool on Aug. 3 at noon to honor those who made the project possible and to thank the community for its backing.
“We were able to finish the project on time and under budget,” Recreation Director Colin Drury told Reminder Publications. “We’re very excited with how well this project turned out and we’re very grateful for the town’s support.”
Keeping the original and continued purpose of the pool in mind, children will be at the center of the celebration, taking on an active role.
“The first 200 kids who jump in and swim across the pool will get a free T-shirt,” Drury said.
He added the festivities were aimed at bringing elements of Pine Knoll’s past together with the future that the pool represents.
“We’re going to be having a presentation for those who were involved and we’ll be going over some of the history of the property,” he said. “We have members of the original family that owned the property coming back and they have been very helpful helping us put together the pool’s history.”
Previous selectmen, from those who facilitated the purchase of the property to those who assisted with the completion of the upgrades were also invited.
The Pine Knoll Recreation Area was purchased by the town in 1996 and utilized regularly, but because of the pool’s age and deteriorating condition, extensive regular maintenance had to be performed by the Department of Public Works. Even with those measures, the pool lost an estimated 300,000 gallons per season. It also did not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Residents approved a $450,000 expenditure that Drury requested at the Oct. 1, 2012, Special Town Meeting, based on a budget developed by an outside consulting firm, then later appropriated a separate $350,000 at the Oct. 21, 2013, Special Town Meeting after initial cost estimates proved to be too low.
The new, larger, L-shaped pool, includes beach-style entry and two other handicap accessible entry points, a deeper deep end, water features, and is competition ready for the East Longmeadow Marlins, who intend to use it for home meets during the summer. Kurtz Inc. General Contractors of Westfield completed the project.
The town bonded $450,000 in June to fund the renovation.
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