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Canton Board of Finance Approves $400,000 for Mills Pond Pool Improvements

Town Meeting approval still needed.

The Board of Finance Monday night put its stamp of approval on the transfer of $400,000 from the town’s reserves for improvements at Mills Pond Pool. Approval from voters is still needed at a town meeting, likely to take place in mid November.

Monday was the second time the finance board considered the proposal but this time with the presence of Michael P. Fortuna, of TLB Architecture of Cheshire, the firm that completed a study of the pool earlier this year.

Estimates for the spending is as follows:

  • $129,470 for replacement of the concrete deck and drainage improvements.
  • $39,959 for repairs to the pool and pool shell, including realignment of the gutter systems, repairs to the concrete shell, removal of underwater lights and repair of a broken pipe.
  • $223,042 to modernize mechanical and pool filtration systems and move them above ground. .

The repairs come to an estimated $387,471 and combined in the $15,000 already in the pool capital improvement fund, would provide some for design and contingency.

Town officials told the Board of Finance that the hope is to get another 8 to 10 years out of the facility before taking on a bigger project, such as replacement.

“We’re trying to make this pool last until the next bonding cycle,” first selectman Richard Barlow said.

Chief Adminstrative Officer Robert Skinner said it would also give the town time to figure out exactly what it would want a new pool to look like.

The improvements would also make it a safer facility, Fortuna said.

“The higher cost of the decks is as much a safety issue as a longevity issue,” Fortuna said.

While Board of Finance Chairman Richard Ohanesian expressed some concerns that shell repair could turn into a bigger project than antinicipated, board members spoke in favor of the ideas.

Member Ken Humphrey said he’s heard almost unanimous feedback to keep the pool going.

“It’s something that’s definitely worthwhile,” he said.

Humphrey only cautioned that the town remembers that a bigger commitment is coming.

BOF member Brian First said the improvements were also ones that would help strengthen users’ experiences.

“It’s not just keeping it open,” he said. “It’s a dramatic improvement to what you have now,” he said.

In addition some of the changes, such as mechanicals, could carry over to new facility, officials said. 

Ohanesian also said if the money is spent, the town would have to set aside additional funds to properly maintain the pool on an annual basis.

In addition to the $400,000, the Board of Selectment has discussed the idea of applying for Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding for the pool in 2013.

If those funds are granted, one area of potenital use would be for improvements to the pool house.

Before the $400,000 becomes reality, town voters must approve at a town meeting. That will likely take place in mid November 

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