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Meetings on Year-Round Pool Study, Track and Field Site Plan Set for This Week

Lawton Road Field Plan could also be approved.

Over the next two nights, residents will have the chance to weigh in on two projects that have garnered much attention as of late. 

First is tonight's Special Town Meeting at which electors can decide whether the town should spend as much as $12,500 for an independent study on the feasibility of enclosing Mills Pond Pool. The funds would come from the Mills Pond Pool Evaluation and Improvements Account.

Advocates of the idea recently filed a petition to bring the issue to electors at a special town meeting and feel an enclosure could potentially bring in more programs and generate enough revenue to take the pool from an operation that loses money each year to one that is self sustaining and even generates revenue. 

It has generated some controversy, with some being skeptical of the idea itself, the timing and/or spending the money. Others said the funds should be kept in the account in case already planned pool improvements cost more than the $400,000 allotted. 

The meeting takes place Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7 p.m. in the Canton High School Auditorium, 76 Simonds Ave.

To take effect, the measure needs to pass with at least 75 affirmative votes.

Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. residents have the chance to comment on the site plan for the proposed Canton High School Track, Field and Parking lot improvement project. 

In November, residents voted to bond $3.615 million for the project. (Bonding is essentially the town's way to borrow money and pay back over time with interest.) The plan calls for a multi-sport synthetic playing field, surrounded by 6-lane track with 8-lane sprinting section. The plan also calls for redoing the parking lot in a plan officials say will greatly improve traffic flow and safety. A planned secondary access would provide access for emergency vehicles. 

The zoning commission is the final regulatory approval needed and at Wednesday's public hearing residents will have the chance to hear the details of the site plan and comment on it. 

The town is not seeking field lighting at this time as funding for the lights, bleachers and scoreboard was not including in the vote. 

The public hearing is set to open early in the meeting, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 in the Library/Community Center, Room F, 40 Dyer Ave. 

Also Wednesday, the Zoning Commission could potentially take action on a proposed plan for youth fields and a portion of the Farmington River Trail on town-owned property at 55 Lawton Road. There is currently no funding for the plan. 

Garry Schafer February 19, 2013 at 03:24 PM
I might go because I'm curious what takes $12.5k for a STUDY to spend more money; I wonder what goes into that.
Canton Taxpayer February 19, 2013 at 03:35 PM
...and the $12,500 STUDY money comes right out of the pool repair money....I thought all the pool-parents were adamant that we spend the $400K on repairs. I think Lowell Humphrey saved us $12,500 with common sense -- there's not enough parking and the traffic would be a nightmare with meets starting and ending at different times....once again the few spend the money of the many....
John Fitts (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 03:58 PM
It is my understanding that this does not “subtract” from the $400,000 but some felt the extra money could help should the planned repairs go over that amount. On the other hand, others have argued that some of the repairs, such as decking support, could be planned better if the town knew for sure whether or not it wanted to add the architectural membrane cover for a portion of the year.
Wyatt February 19, 2013 at 04:34 PM
According to the articles, the study is to determine whether it is feasible to make the pool a year-round facility. Apparently, Canton Taxpayer already knows about parking traffic, but people who care about facts, would prefer to see a study done.
Canton Taxpayer February 19, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Thanks for letting us know that John. If attending the meeting and voting no on it would stop the wasteful expenditure of yet more of our tax money, I'd go. If I understand it correctly, there are only 75 yes votes needed to spend the $12,500 on top of the $400K for repairs. Guess Canton has one of those black Amex cards with unlimited borrowing capacity!
Betty February 19, 2013 at 06:52 PM
John, Do you know where they plan to put the bleachers? Do you remember the area private pool in the 60's? I wonder if anyone has considered another privately owned pool? I wonder if anyone has answered Lowel Humphrey's February 16, 2013 comment "a municipal pool feasibility study (comparable to our stand alone pool situation) that projects revenue generation I will support spending thousands on our own study."? It would be nice to know who has been successful before the meeting. Wyatt, I think the references to traffic go back to the Patch article published on January 24, it quoted Selectman Lowell Humphrey. Lowell Humphrey made a subsequent comment after the article he mentioned "My comments as a selectman regarding parking at Mills Pond reflect my experience as the parent of a former USA Swimming member (evening practice at UHart) and as Canton's Legal Traffic Authority for fourteen years.". Lowell Humphrey spent 34 years on the Canton Police Force, when he retired he had been the Canton Chief of Police for many years.
Fred February 19, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Our governments, Federal, State, and now Local are writing checks without money in the bank, accumulating debt so fast our future generations will never be able to pay for the obligations we are gleefully, like kids in a candy store, accumulating. Prior to spending over 10 thousand dollars in this economy, why don't we survey the town as to whether they even want a year round facility, and then, if that survey is positive, engage the cost/benefit analysis to see if it makes sense. As I look down a neighborhood cul-de-sac of 14 homes, there are 4 in-ground pools. How many other streets are like this? Further, on the next street over, in talking to neighbors, none use the current pool and see a year round facility as a expense that will not be able to be offset with fees requiring consistent taxpayer contributions. Are we really interested as taxpayers, in competing with local health clubs and the Y? In other words, do the taxpayers really want this, or is it a pet project of a select few? A reasonable person decides they want to do something before they spend time effort and money on research. I don't look at pricing, finance rates, terms of loans and specifications for a new car unless I'm in the market. Like others, if I am in the market, then and only then do I embark on the research. Have we already decided we want this and we're just going to do a study to see if it works? I must have missed the vote. Is this a case of the cart before the horse?
John Fitts (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 08:48 PM
To Canton Taxpayer: In this situation it has to be an affirmative vote, with at least 75 people voting yes. It could be voted down or if fewer than 75 vote - be an affirmative vote that does not take affect.
Larry Litton February 19, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Mr. Humphrey states he wants to see a comperable feasability study from the past, whose results were favorable, before he can support having this one done. Unfortunately every situation is at least somewhat unique based on location, condition of the existing structure, surrounding infrastucture, demographics, and many other factors. All these variables insure that such a study, done somewhere else to be used as a baseline for his and anyone elses decision to move forward on supporting a study being done here, can't and won't be found. I know this to be true because I have tried to find one myself. That brings us back to the whole point of having the study done. We KNOW the pool currently loses a large amount of money every year. We KNOW that significant repairs are currently needed in order for the pool to continue to operate. We KNOW that because of the age of the pool it will continue to require additional funds for future repairs and maintenance. We also KNOW that if the pool could be open year round it would have multiple opportunities for use that it currently doesn't. What we DON'T KNOW is whether or not enclosing the pool would cost the taxpayers even more money, or if it would actually provide a revenue opportunity that could ease or possibly even eliminate the burden of expense from the Canton Taxpayers. $12,500 to get this question answered seems like a smart and responsible investment to me!
John Fitts (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Hi Betty. I assume you mean the bleachers for the track project. I know it’s hard to see and I am having trouble uploading the pdf. That brown strip on the side of the field near the parking lot shows a potential location for bleachers.
Fred February 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM
@Larry, Also "What we DON'T KNOW is whether or not enclosing the pool" is something the community even is interested in. Why the rush to spend so much money on something that we haven't decided we're in the market for? I disagree that $12,500 is a good investment on something that the community as a whole has not had a chance to even consider. Did we miss the vote on whether or not we wanted to consider enclosing this pool?
Fred February 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Actually John, I believe she is referring to the pool. You can't have a community pool that is going to hold meets and the like without a place for an audience to sit. I'll ask in more clarity. Where would the bleachers at the pool go?
John Fitts (Editor) February 19, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Hi Fred. I have not personally heard any discussion of bleachers at the pool but was not at every meeting when this issue was discussed.
Canton Taxpayer February 19, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Fred-once the pool-parents saw the town cough up $400k because they talked about the pool for an hour at a town meeting they figured they could get even more of our money for a study...this is ill-advised at best and extortion at worst.
John Fitts (Editor) February 20, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Residents voted 106 to 38 to study feasibility of enclosing the pool for year-round use. Story to come.
Andrew Ziemba February 20, 2013 at 05:18 AM
Mob rule is very dangerous and extremely immoral. The hypocrisy of the average American is mind numbingly absurd. Unfortunately, advancement as a society is a slow and painful process. It will take a long time before people realize that we are most prosperous as a whole when individuality and individual liberty is viewed as superior to collectivism and rule through the threat of violent aggression and force at the barrel of a gun.
Betty February 21, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Thanks John, I had trouble uploading it too.
Chris Carroll February 22, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Once again this town votes to spend money we do not have on something we do not need!

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