Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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Voting on Pool Bids Set for End of July

Anne Levin

Concrete or steel? The virtues of both materials were the subject of debate at Princeton Borough Council last Tuesday, July 5, when Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi updated members about the construction bids for Community Park Pool. The council plans to vote on the pool bids before the end of the month.

The aging 44-year-old pool has outlived its normal lifespan, and improvements must be made starting at the end of this summer. While lower-priced concrete has been recommended by the Joint Recreation Board of Princeton, the merits of a steel-reinforced Myrtha pool, which is like those used in the Olympics, were carefully considered, Mr. Bruschi said. Council members David Goldfarb and Jo Butler asked whether it wouldn’t be more economical in the long run to go with the Myrtha option.

“At least from my perspective, the Myrtha has the proposed advantage of being less expensive over time,” said Mr. Goldfarb. “The reduced costs over time in maintaining it would more than pay the difference in the big picture.”

The concrete pool would cost approximately $5.8 million to build, including $900,000 in maintenance costs over the next five decades. The Myrtha pool would cost about $6.4 million to build, with less to spend on maintenance.

But there is a time limit involved, since the work needs to be done by the time the pool reopens next June. Construction is targeted to begin right after Labor Day. And the steel pool is manufactured in Italy, which could pose uncertainty regarding delivery.

“Personally, I’m just nervous about the delay potential,” said Council President Kevin Wilkes. Mayor Mildred Trotman commented, “Who wants to take that risk?”

Opting for the steel pool would also necessitate raising more money than the $6.1 million bond that has been appropriated for the project.

“Concrete we manufacture right here in New Jersey, in Hillsborough,” said Mr. Wilkes, adding, “Concrete has worked since the Romans and I’m not afraid of any problem with it.”

Mr. Wilkes said that after analysis, the concrete option was “tiny by a nose” cheaper, and would cost approximately $120,000 to redo in ten to twelve years. “So we have to be disciplined about setting aside money each year,” he added.

Eight bids were made for the pool project. The concrete pool shell that was approved by the Joint Recreation Board was the least expensive of all the options that went out to bid.

Mr. Bruschi said that the department had only received a bid summary from the Township engineer, but will receive a more detailed memorandum within three weeks. Borough Council members will review the information they have and then decide whether to hold an additional meeting before the July 25 joint meeting of Borough and Township officials.

At the Borough Council meeting, several ordinances and resolutions were approved. Among them were an ordinance appropriating $240,000 from the Sewer Trust Fund to provide for various projects, a bond ordinance to improve pay stations of the parking utility, a resolution approving a professional services agreement with Princeton Senior Resource Center, and a resolution approving Fire Department membership for Paul J. LaPlaca.

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