Claremont Puts Off Pool Demolition

Claremont — The city will not sign a contract for demolition of the outdoor pool, at least until after the July 10 City Council meeting, City Manager Guy Santagate said yesterday.

Santagate said there will be a motion presented to council in July to demolish the pool and if it passes, the contract can be signed.

“It is their call,” Santagate said.

At the June 12 council meeting, resident Jeff Barrette questioned whether the condition of the 60-year-old pool at Veteran’s Park was as bad as the recreation department said it was when the council voted to keep it closed last summer.

Barrette asked the council to allow him access to the pool so he could pay for his own assessment of the condition and obtain estimates for repairs. The city said full repairs to the pool could run as high as $600,000.

Barrette’s request sparked a lengthy debate among councilors, during which it became clear there was no actual motion or vote to demolish the pool. In May 2012 the council voted 7-2 to close the pool and determine costs for removal.

Mayor James Neilsen asked Santagate to delay the contract signing and Santagate said yesterday the city would adhere to that request.

During the budget review in November, the council approved $50,000 for the demolition and some councilors believe that was a clear indication that the city could proceed with demolition. Bids were recently returned and a contract awarded, but not signed, for $23,000.

At the June meeting, Councilor Chris Irish was adamant that the council never voted for demolition and he wanted to “have a conversation” about the options and final look of the property .

Barrette said he plans to attend the July council meeting and make his case to hold off on demolition.

“I’m going to do the best I can to fight it,” he said yesterday.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com