Charlestown Board Splits On Support

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 3/23/2018 12:39:09 AM
Modified: 3/23/2018 12:39:11 AM

Charlestown — The volunteer group that has raised more than $2,000 in a couple of months to help pay for repairs to the town pool did not get the unconditional support it was looking for from the Selectboard on Wednesday night.

While newly elected Chairman Thomas Cobb praised the group and its work, saying it was “long overdue,” Albert St. Pierre, who was elected to the board on March 13, gave only qualified support.

“I have a lot of questions,” St. Pierre said. “What I would like to do is attend a (recreation) committee meeting and get more information. I do support a pool in town.”

Nicole Hobart with Save the Outdoor Pool Committee wanted the entire board to support raising the full amount needed to resurface the pool, a process that has to be redone about every 15 years. The pool on East Street was constructed in 1974.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved placing $30,000, or about a third of the estimated cost of the repairs, into a swimming pool rehabilitation capital reserve fund.

Cobb and then-board member Arthur Grenier, who was defeated in his re-election bid, supported placing the article for the $30,000 appropriation on the Town Meeting warrant, but the third board member, Steve Neill, did not. He was absent on Wednesday.

Hobart, who was with fellow committee members Kelly Guerriere and Michelle Herrington, asked at one point during Wednesday’s discussion if Cobb and St. Pierre supported the group’s goal.

“Well, we put the article on the warrant to see how the town feels so now we have money in reserve,” Cobb said. “We are doing something that needs to be done. The intent was to fix the pool.”

Cobb said the plan is to put another $30,000 in the reserve fund next year, and in the third year appropriate the amount needed to make up the difference from any fundraising. “That was the initial plan,” he said.

Cobb reiterated that the warrant article says the money is to be used for the town pool, and further told the group that money cannot be spent from a reserve fund without voter approval.

Current estimates to resurface the pool and fix the concrete apron and the piping hover around $90,000.

During the discussion, Water and Wastewater Superintendent Dan Duquette said the pool had other problems, and while Cobb said they had their estimates for the needed repairs, St. Pierre said he would be interested in seeing what those other problems are.

“I need to be educated,” St. Pierre said.

Hobart also made reference to “rumors” about a new pool at Patch Park. Cobb said he has heard the same thing, but that such a pool has not been a topic of discussion among Selectboard members.

A message left for Neill was not immediately returned.

Hobart told the Selectboard the group has had a tremendous amount of fundraising support from within Charlestown and beyond. The recreation committee, the Rotary Club and Charlestown Police are behind the effort to repair the pool as well as many area businesses.

“It has taken off a lot more than we thought it would,” said Hobart, whose group has raised $2,300 through just two fundraising events since the beginning of the year.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.




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