$2.1M pool a ‘huge asset’ following July soft opening in Buckland

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 08-13-2023 11:14 AM

BUCKLAND — While many natural bodies of water may have been unsafe for swimming in the wake of July’s heavy rainstorms, Buckland families were able to rejoice over the opening of the community pool at the Buckland Recreation Area.

“Everyone is happy to get in this season,” said Cynthia Schwartz, chair of the Recreation Committee.

July 15 marked the soft opening of the swimming pool and accompany pool house, which residents have advocated to build since the closure of the recreation area’s last pool in 2016. With contractors having to push back their work pouring concrete due to the frequent rain, Schwartz said construction is not yet finished, with an incomplete entranceway, no sign and landscaping still to be done. Because of this, the Recreation Committee decided to have a soft opening this summer, with a grand opening scheduled for next summer.

“It is a huge asset to the community,” Schwartz said. “Everyone missed it when it was demolished.”

Come Labor Day, the pool will close so contractors can finish the work.

Planning, design and construction cost nearly $2.1 million, and was paid for using a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant, as well as nearly $1.3 million that voters approved at a Special Town Meeting in October 2021. After bids came in higher than anticipated, residents approved another $300,000 toward the project in July 2022, two months before the groundbreaking ceremony.

“We did it with community support and donations,” Schwartz said. “They are the ones who made it happen.”

Lifeguard Vicky Maleno said that Schwartz and Pam Guyette, administrative assistant to the Selectbaord, worked hard to get the pool open.

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“They outshined themselves,” she said.

The pool was designed to be 2,413 square feet — roughly 90 feet by 60 feet — with depths ranging from 6 inches to 7 feet, 3 inches. On hot summer days, residents can be seen lounging on beach chairs while children splash in the water.

With rainy weekends, many days saw lower turnout. But any day with fair weather means the pool is packed, especially on weekends, Schwartz said.

“The pool is great,” Maleno said. “Kids swim all day and love it up here.”

Day passes cost $7 for Buckland residents, $10 for residents of Mohawk Trail Regional School District towns and $12 for non-residents. Family passes for residents cost $200 this summer.

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.

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