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Conway to open pool in summer 2014

CONWAY — It looks like townspeople will be able to enjoy a dip in the Conway Swimming Pool in the summer of 2014.

The Conway Community Swimming Pool Committee — the group of volunteers that maintains the man-made swimming hole — has raised enough money to complete the $563,000 repair job.

“We have all the money, all the permits in place and we hired a contractor,” James Recore, pool committee president, said Friday. “The committee believes we have enough money to complete the job.”

Construction begins Monday. The committee has tapped C.D. Davenport of Greenfield to do phase one of the construction — a six-week process where the pool will be dredged and the 63-year-old piping repaired.

The second phase involves making the beach area fully accessible.

“We won’t open until that is complete,” Recore said. “While this is going on, it’s a construction site. The site is off limits.”

The pool project will be complete by the winter, in time for the ice fishing derby to return. Recore said the committee will plan a celebration in the spring.

It would be the first time since the pool’s closure in the fall of 2010 that the townspeople will get to swim in the town’s traditional cool-down spot.

The pool has been closed due to bypass and sinkhole issues with the earthen dam that impounds Pumpkin Hollow Brook.

The pool committee split costs into two: $193,000 for repairs and $235,000 for accessibility improvements.

Phase one calls for repair to the earthen dam, where structural issues with the spillway pipe have caused sinkholes and washouts along the dam crest. On top of that, the spillway gate, gears and standpipe and the diving board on the spillway will also be repaired.

Dredging involves removing about 3,000 cubic yards of sediment from the pond to maintain the volume of the pool.

The accessibility improvements — paid for from the M and M Germaine Trust Fund approved by the Selectboard — include specially designed accessible platforms, docks, and transfer areas at the water level.

Grading work by the beach area will be done to create pathways and walkways made of stone dust to provide solid footing for wheelchair travel.

In May 2012, townspeople approved $123,000 in community preservation money for the project.

But over the next year, getting the permits proved daunting for the pool committee.

“We were dealing with six different agencies for permitting,” said Recore. “It felt very good to have a pre-construction meeting yesterday and talk about getting work done. We can all breathe a small sigh of relief.”

It needed seven permits: the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Environmental Notification Form, the MassDEP 401 Water Quality Certification, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Individual, Wetlands Protection Act Notice of Intent, the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act Project Review, a state dam safety permit and Section 106 Coordination Mass. Historical and Tribes.

Getting private donations proved easier with the backing and support of the townspeople.

“It’s been everything from large to small donations,” said Recore. “It truly has been a community effort. I knew we could get there but I’m amazed how fast we got there.”

Since beginning its campaign in February, a group of 15 volunteers in the town stepped forward to form the fundraising arm of the pool group, meeting twice a week to get the job done.

From the start, the fundraising committee has been instrumental, quickly raising $100,000 in four weeks.

In March, the townspeople overwhelmingly supported the pool committee’s request for $235,000 from the M and M Germain Trust Fund for accessibility improvements in a town meeting straw poll vote.

Meanwhile, Conway residents, musicians, artists and writers planned jazz brunches, music events and dinners to raise money for the pool costs.

“Everyone pulled out all the stops. People took the time off work and away from their families to make sure this happened,” Recore said. “These people worked long and hard and they did a wonderful job. We’re all truly volunteers.”

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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