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Mills Pond Pool Improvements Unlikely for this Summer

Architect tentatively selected to design upgrades in decking, shell and mechanicals but timeframe could push work off until pool closes for year.

Improvements slated for Mills Pond Pool are not likely to come in time for the upcoming season, Parks and Recreation Director Brian Wilson told the parks commission last week.

In December, residents at town meeting voted to transfer $400,000 from the town contingency fund for pool improvements. The boards of selectmen and finance approved the transfer prior to the town meeting. The town is looking for the funds to pay for new decking and improved drainage, new and safer above-ground mechanical systems and partial shell repair.

Officials started the process after the vote, Wilson said, and last week chose an architectural firm from three finalists. The firm is not being divulged until the Board of Selectmen officially ratifies the contract.

But despite moving as quickly as possible, the architectural firms interviewed indicated it would be difficult to have the work done for the summer.

One reason is that pool equipment generally has to be ordered well ahead of time, Wilson said.

If the work were to be done in the spring it would likely delay the opening of the pool, and if there were any problems, run the risk of greatly shortening the brief season, Wilson said. That would make it more likely the work would be done after the pool closes for the year.

“(The architects indicated) to have this work done prior to opening this season was extremely aggressive if not impossible,” Wilson said.

Commission members asked Wilson if the pool could open for another year without the repairs.

Barring any major, last-minute breakdowns, it should work, Wilson said.

“Like last year, it’s kind of a cross of the fingers and knock on wood and hope,” Wilson said.

Commissioners, however, agreed that it would likely be too risky to have the work done for this year and chance losing part or all of the season.

The $400,000 does not include anything directly related to the architectural covering/ year-round pool study idea that residents recently petitioned to bring to town meeting.

However, the architects interviewed for the current improvements on the table, indicated that a design could be flexible enough to allot for such changes should the town go in that direction, Wilson said.  

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