Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Red Bank Pool is set to open on schedule Memorial Day weekend beginning Saturday, May 26 thanks to the vigilant efforts of the city’s Pool Advisory Committee, which is planning a 50th anniversary celebration for the pool during regular hours Saturday, June 30.
The pool is open to anyone regardless of Red Bank residency, and the admission charge remains $3.50 for all ages 3 and older (free for younger entrants). A season pass for a family of four can also be purchased for $125.
“It’s important for the community, and it’s a good recreational value,” said Pool Advisory Committee president Terry Pope of the half-century-old pool, the only public pool north of the river. “There’s no place else you can go and spend the day for $3.50.”
Changes pool regulars will notice this season include a paved parking lot with new lighting, a benefit of the new Red Bank Middle School construction nearby. Pool officials are also equipped to accept Visa and MasterCard for season pass and snack bar purchases.
“It’s very family-oriented, clean and well-maintained,” said committee member Rufus Smith of the pool.
Although official sign-up dates have passed, Pope said Ken Buchanan, 22-year Red Bank swim team coach, will continue to accept new members through the first few weeks of June.
“He’s a fixture here in Red Bank and one of the reasons [the team] is so popular,” said Pope, adding that the team went from 40 to 120 members when Buchanan became coach. “It’s one of the three or four biggest [teams] in the area.”
Buchanan is assisted by Megan Grass, a swimmer with the team since age 3.
In order to keep the pool open, Pope said the committee was forced to impose a $50 fee this year on members of the pool’s swim team, which has in the past only suggested a donation from its members. Fees for concessions and private parties have also been increased.
The pool survived a near-closing in 2001 when the city determined it could no longer afford to maintain the aging facility, according to Pope. Concerned community members established an agreement with the City Commission, and the Pool Advisory Committee, consisting of volunteers who at some point have had children on the Red Bank swim team, was formed to lease and operate the pool. It has spent approximately $51,000, much of which came out of individual committee members’ pockets, on the pool over the past 11 years, said Pope.
The city pays for water and electricity for the pool, and other expenses are paid for with proceeds from the swim team fee, admission charges, the sale of season passes, ads on the pool fence and concessions, according to him. Daily operating costs for the pool, the gates of which approximately 9,000 people pass through each summer, are around $250 and include lifeguard and pool director salaries, chemicals and insurance.
Ads to be displayed on the pool fence are available in two sizes: 4-by-4-feet for $250 or 4-by-8-feet for $500. To purchase ads or for further details, contact Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org.