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Bethlehem considers pool upgrades

The pool at Bethlehem's town park on Elm Avenue is in desperate need of improvements, including a new filtration system, said town parks administrator Nan Lanahan at a recent budget workshop.

It's falling apart, said Lanahan. "We aren't going to get through another summer with this."

There is currently $700,000 in the town's general fund capital reserves that could pay for the cost of a new system, which carries an estimated price tag of $350,000 to $400,000. The new pool filtration system will also have to be designed with ultraviolet light, a new state requirement to disinfect public swimming pools.

Town Supervisor Jack Cunningham and board member Dan Plummer urged Lanahan to make sure the town conforms to any new state Health Department requirements for a new filtration system before going out to bid on such an expensive project.

"I'm not going to come to the board and ask for capital reserve money until we know how much that costs," Lanahan said.

The kiddie pool was built just before the state mandated an ultraviolet disinfectant system.

"We want to start looking at changing the filtration system but not without knowing what all the state Health Department codes will be," said Cunningham.

Vandalism at Elm Avenue Park is another growing concern for the town.

Lanahan said between $5,000 and $8,000 of vandalism has occurred over the summer by teens getting into the park during the overnight hours causing damage to restrooms and other areas.

"Vandalism is a constant problem," Lanahan said.

In one case, someone took picnic tables out of the pavilion and placed them in the softball field. Fires have also broken out in the restrooms.

The department has staff at the park until midnight, but the vandalism is occurring in the middle of the night. Video cameras cold be the next step for the town.

"My thought is to look at a security system inside the pool area," Lanahan said.

Cunningham agrees something needs to be done to curb the onslaught of vandalism at the park.

"I have been talking to the police chief about the possibility of improving patrols and better monitoring in the park area," said Cunningham, who also agrees that extra security measures like installing video cameras could also be a positive move.

"That's a possibility," Cunningham said. "The school district has used it and it has been successful for them."

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