By Alberto Gilman
Newburgh City Council approved the execution of a contract with engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee [CPL] in the amount of $804,000 for professional engineering services at Delano-Hitch Park. This approval begins the process of pursuing a brand new aquatic center for the City of Newburgh.
The current pool site at the park features the existing pool and waterslide combination, additional side parking lot and check in building with changing facilities. The pool has remained closed since the beginning of the pandemic and is in need of repair and remediation.
CPL had appeared before the city council in June with the proposals of splash pads and varying pool construction and amenities. CPL Engineers returned Thursday, September 8 with a revised master plan. The pool site featured a community sized pool, starting blocks, new multi-use building with locker rooms, new restroom facilities, concession stand, equipment and storage rooms and additional office space for the recreation department. However, CPL presented to the city council that the firm’s anticipated time of completion for this project would not be until 2025, around Memorial Day Weekend during their public presentation.
Council members were not happy with the timeline as this would be more time for city residents to wait for the new aquatic center. Several council members had commented that residents have contacted them out of frustration about not having a pool facility still available to them and their families.
During the previous city’s work session on Thursday, October 6, City Manager Todd Venning stated to the council that the city would not know the cost of the pool until bids are sent out but as of October 6, the project cost could be $14 million. In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] funds along with the possibility of bonding would be needed going forward with the pool costs if the council saw fit to move forward. With the rising costs of supplies and unable to conduct construction projects during COVID, these factors have contributed to the increase in cost for the city going into this project.
“The pool situation was something that we inherited and I think that should be made very clear to the community,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “I liked everything about CPL’s design, they are a City of Newburgh business, the only thing I did not like was the timeline.”
“We have been living with a substandard pool for many years. One that’s constantly needed repair and really wasn’t done right the first way 20 years ago,” said Councilman Robert Sklarz. “We need to move forward on this.”
While the pool will be under construction, splash pads will be available to the community to offer outdoor aquatic activities. One is currently at Audrey Carey Park, one was being installed at Tyrone Crabb Park and another was to be completed at Xavier Lunan Park in the Heights. Most of the proposed water activities will take place at the park and will be available to the public to enjoy during the hot summer months.
“We’re working with the rec director [Matthew Nordt] reaching out to some of the other community pools to see if we can coordinate some kind of summer schedule, with either the school district or the Mount [Saint Mary College],” said Venning. We’re also coordinating some kind of camps that will be able to take children to water parks.”