By Erin O'Connor
WEST SPRINGFIELD - City residents and their guests will once again enjoy a refreshing splash in their local pool. After being closed for two years due to unsafe conditions, the Memorial Pool will be reopening July 2 to residents with a rededication ceremony to take place June 30.
"We have been advocating for the last seven years to get the pool done," Domenic Longo, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, said to Reminder Publications. "It finally got to the point where we had to shut it done for safety reasons and health code violations."
Longo said the pool, located on Smyrna Street, was built in 1950 and originally was an old reservoir. In 1960 the city constructed a cement pool and a wading pool.
According to Longo the cement work was expected to last between 25 -30 years but in fact lasted about 45 years.
Longo said he hopes with the new cement work major repairs to the pool will not be necessary for the rest of his time with the Department.
The city appropriated $870,000 for the repairs and renovations and a state Urban Self Help Grant appropriated another $500,000.
"Like so many other things you don't know what you got till' it's gone," Longo said. "As long as we were making do people would say, 'lets put it off and put it off.' When we saw that we had to shut it [the pool] because it was deteriorating. We gathered a lot of community support and a lot of support from the Council. It was a very viable asset to the city and we had to do something."
Longo said the repairs are ongoing and started in late October of last year.
The bathhouse and swimming pool have undergone extensive renovations and new bathrooms have been added along with family changing areas. The swimming pool has also been completely renovated and a new interactive "splash pad" has replaced the wading pool.
The hours of operation are daily 12:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and again, 5:30 p.m. -7:15 p.m. The last day of operation for the Memorial Pool will be August 19. Pool Pass requirements are posted at each pool, at the Park and Recreation Office and on-line at www.west-springfield.ma.us
Pool Passes for Main Street and Memorial Pools are open to West Springfield residents and their guest only. Proof of valid residency and guest pass are required. To use the pool a West Springfield resident must show his/her picture I.D. or pool pass. A resident who is at least 12 years of age must accompany their guest.
Pool pass requirements for West Springfield residents include Middle School and High School student I.D.'s issued from the West Springfield School system as their pool pass. Adults will use a picture I.D. as their pool pass (Drivers license, DTA Card, PVTA Card, United Check Cashing I.D.)
If an individual does not have a picture I.D. a pool pass will be issued by the Park and Recreation Department providing that the resident supplies two of the following documents; school report card, school records, utility bill (post marked within last 30 days), rental or lease agreement (signed within last 30 days) or mortgage statement.
A fee of $2 will be charged for lost passes, assessed after the third lost pass is issued.
Guest pass policy include a resident must obtain a guest pass at the West Springfield Park and Recreation Department. The fees for a guest pass are as follows: $2 per day/per guest (up to three guests a day and additional guests will be charged $5 each.) $25 for a season pass (up to three guests a day and additional guests will be charged $5 each.)
Daily pass receipts maybe redeemed as credit towards the purchase of a season pass. Daily passes will be sold at the pool facilities and at the Parks and Recreation Department. Season passes will be sold at the Park and Recreation Department only.
A fee of $5 will be charged for lost guest passes.