An aerial view of Elm Avenue Park’s pool complex shows the blue waters of the diving pool (top), but concern over its structural integrity has prompted its closure.Jim Franco / Spotlight News
BETHLEHEM — A new pool to replace the irreparable Elm Avenue Park dive pool may be open as early as late July 2020 but Paul Penman, the town’s deputy commissioner of Public Works, said it is not a 100 percent guarantee.
Appearing before the town board, he presented a new timeline for how the town will move forward regarding the dive pool.
It was originally built in 1973 but was closed this past summer as it was discovered as being severely deteriorated beyond repair.
In past weeks, residents and the town board began to express their views on a new dive pool — this would be based on the original — and a new double-slide pool — anyone over 48 inches, or four feet, can use this and it requires two lifeguards.
Penman said bids for a new dive pool and a double-slide pool will be advertised on Dec. 23; the town will receive bids by Jan. 30, 2020; the town board will review the bids in its Feb. 7 meeting; a contract would be awarded in the Feb. 26 town board meeting; a notice to proceed will happen the day after; and construction is expected to begin on March 16.
“The first critical date is February 7. That’s the town board meeting where we’d like to present the numbers that come in on the bid package for the two options,” said Penman. “Then we would get some comments from the town board.”
He also noted that the town will continue having discussions with the public about both pool options prior to making a decision at the Feb. 26 meeting.
Town Supervisor David VanLuven said it is important to continue public discussions in the meantime.
Town Board member Dan Coffey said it would be helpful to put pool-related information on the town’s website before Feb. 7 so that the public can have ample time to learn about it before the town board makes a decision on Feb. 26.
An ideal construction timeline was presented too where between March 16 and May 22, regardless of which pool type the town chooses by then, is when the most “disruptive” work mainly happens. This is when demolition, the installation of piping and shell construction will take place.
Then, from May 25 to Aug. 7, gutters will be installed, the pool and deck would be finished, and dive or slide towers will be erected too.
This brings up the issue of whether summer construction would be allowed while the rest of the pool complex is open.
Penman said the gutter installation “is not really disruptive. Same thing with the pool finish, they bring in pretty much pickup trucks and a little bit bigger vehicles and a small mixer. Again, it’s not going to be very dusty or very disruptive.”
Penman added that he recommends summer construction to be allowed based on the schedule and type of construction activity planned during that time.
In his presentation, he also wrote that a few days could be noisy at the pool complex but a possible compromise is closing the complex for one or two days, or having it open for half-days at a time.
Town Board member Jim Foster recommended families, especially parents, should be informed in advance of maintaining safe distances between patrons at the pool complex and construction activity, if summer construction is approved.
Jason Gallo, the town’s Parks and Recreation administrator, said some possible ways to inform the public about summer construction, if it gets approved, include having information on receipts at the pool complex, and having signs and pictures there that detail construction activity too.
The pool is then set to be commissioned in mid-August and site landscaping would take place between Aug. 10 and Sept. 11.
While Penman said this is all a fairly conservative schedule, weather can be unpredictable.
But if there is good weather overall, it may shave the construction schedule by one month.
“It may get the pool open by the end of July or early August but again, I don’t want to promise that because this last year, we had horrible weather,” said Penman, offering a few examples like how welders cannot weld and concrete cannot be poured when it’s raining.