South End pool hearing draws more than 100

Carol Roche, of Spring Lake, was one of 26 total residents and South End users who spoke at the forum Tuesday night. PHOTO BY STEVE WEXLER

SPRING LAKE — More than 100 people packed into the H.W. Mountz gymnasium Tuesday to have their voices heard before renovation plans are drafted for the renovation of the South End Pavilion.

Following a briefing by Mayor Jennifer Naughton on conditions at the 89-year-old pool facility, borough council members mostly listened, as residents addressed their concerns directly to project architect Eric Wagner and engineer Joseph Griffin.

While the large salt water pool and pavilion building are in good shape, Mayor Naughton said, other elements need renovation. They include the perimeter walls, bathrooms, lockers, pumps and motors — which need to be moved above ground— the pool deck and the baby pool.

Referring to the items needing work, Mr. Griffin told the assembly, “aside from the pool and the pavilion itself, you’re basically operating on a season-to-season basis.” 

Prominent among the comments from the 26 members of the public who spoke, was a desire to keep the vintage and charming look of the South End, avoid replicating the look and functionality of the North End and keep the main pool a salt water pool, among others.

Hot-button issues included what to do with the facility’s 36 shower lockers.

Council President Brendan Judge said the shower lockers should be reconfigured to provide individual showers large enough for persons to shower and change clothes in private — a conversion that would eliminate the currently designed 36 lockers.

“As the mayor told you, Spring Lake taxpayer dollars are going to be used, in part, to finance this project,” Mr. Judge said. “So the first question I have in my mind is, how do I justify to the taxpayers, using any of their money to benefit so few people?”

However, if the lockers remain part of a renovated facility, the council president added, they should be assigned by lottery.

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