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Conway swimming pool opens today

The Conway Swimming Pool is slated to open today. The water was brown on Thursday as a  result of heavy rains on Wednesday. 
(Recorder/Paul Franz)

The Conway Swimming Pool is slated to open today. The water was brown on Thursday as a result of heavy rains on Wednesday. (Recorder/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

CONWAY — When Jim Recore returned to the Conway Community Swimming Pool on Sunday night after a day-long “work bee” and swam out into the pond to make a last-minute repair to the raft, he couldn’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed.

As the president of the Conway Community Swimming Pool Committee Inc., a local nonprofit that owns the pool, he spent the past year as part of a team that has worked to completely repair and renovate the popular swimming hole.

Today, the pool opens for the first time in three years, providing town residents with their traditional place to take a quick dip and escape the summer heat.

“I looked back out over all the new structures and picnic tables and the whole area, and realized we’re about to be at that spot,” Recore said, of the pool’s opening. “It was my favorite place before the renovations, and I just looked back and it was one of those choke up moments.”

The swimming hole was originally closed in the fall of 2010 after the pool committee found bypass and sinkhole issues with the earthen dam that impounds Pumpkin Hollow Brook. After a successful fundraising campaign that included raffles, concerts and other events, eventually garnered $555,579 in private donations and town Community Preservation tax money, the committee began repairing and updating the dam, pool and beach in July 2013.

During the renovation, the committee had to navigate a lengthy permitting process involving multiple organizations and agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Army Corps of Engineers and Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife.

“The scope of it all was pretty amazing,” Recore said. “We had to meet twice a week. Usually it was only once per month, sometimes every two months.”

The committee took the opportunity to improve the beach’s handicapped accessibility, paid for with $235,000 from the town-controlled M&M Germain Trust Fund, which is designed to be used to benefit needy handicapped children and for college scholarships at the discretion of the Selectboard.

“In the past, it’s been pretty steep to get down to the pool, and we thought that as long as we’re doing this we might as well make it as accessible as possible,” said Recore. “Now we have wheelchair access right down into the water.”

The process was completed last November, with finishing touches applied this spring.

“It’s been a long journey and we’re excited as hell that it’s finally opening,” Recore said, “Now what else is there left to do but swim?”

Visitors are being asked to keep off the newly seeded grass areas, which will be roped off until they have had a chance to properly establish themselves.

According to the committee website, the pool will be offering swimming lessons from Red Cross certified instructors for children in town between June 30 and July 10. Classes at the preschool, beginner, advanced beginner and intermediate levels are available. The lessons will cost $40 per class per child and appointments can be made with Lynn Bosman at lynnpodosek@yahoo.com.

The website also notes that the pool is for Conway residents only, and that it will be monitored by the committee. The committee has owned the man-made swimming hole since 1950 and operates it independently of town government, relying on private donations to keep it open.

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