Excitement builds for $2M Middletown Veterans Pool project

Oct 21, 2020
Mdoherty Presenting Mobile

An anticipated $2 million renovation of the city’s 62-year-old public pool will not only equip the facility with state-of-the-art technology and make it ADA-accessible, but help preserve the recreation area for generations to come.

Funding will come from a portion of the remainder of the $33.5 million parks bond voters passed in 2015.

City officials, along with representatives of Milone & MacBroom, the EDM architectural firm and Aquattica Pools & Water Parks, met Tuesday afternoon to kick off the project’s first phase, which includes a site investigation. The assessment of the aging facility is expected to be complete within three weeks.

The project involves renovations and possible changes to the large pool, and wading pool for children, as well as the field house’s lockers, showers and changing rooms.

Middletown Common Council Minority Leader Phil Pessina recalled the fun he had there as a boy. “For the first time, we had a centralized pool that friends could socialize at, and enjoy, as well as the park, which has significantly changed,” he said.

“Now we are going to be able to provide a facility [for] the next generation. It’s important, because a lot of [families] can’t afford pools,” Pessina said.

“We’re not evaluating the pool itself, because it’s being scrapped,” said Milone & MacBroom Project Manager Michael Doherty. He and his staff will be evaluating the parking situation, water circulation pattern, accessibility and other facets of the upcoming work.

Veterans Memorial Pool was dedicated in 1958 to the memory of Dionigi Arrigoni, who, with his brother, Frank, owned the former Hotel Arrigoni, now The Buttonwood Tree on Main Street.

Plans, which include the creation of a splash pad, are in the infancy stage, Doherty said. Some of the attractions possibly could be relocated on the property, and work could include expansion into the surrounding land, he said.

The pool is surrounded by the Greater Middletown Military Museum, Connecticut Trees of Honor and a year-round skating rink.

“Two million is fairly tight for a pool this size,” Doherty said, adding those gathered would be surprised to learn the true price tag of building a pool such as this one nowadays.

Public Works Director William Russo will be looking to have as much demolition and possibly other tasks completed by in-house personnel in order to save as much money as possible.

The “$2 million concerns us all, but we’re thrilled that we have it to improve this facility, which is long overdue. I would not want to see us compromise the scale of what we need,” Middletown Common Council Majority Leader Gene Nocera said. “We have the ability to enhance this facility down the road with the parks money.”

The youth soccer fields and multi-use trail are among projects drawing upon the remaining funds, he said. “It’s possible, at the end, to recoup money to bring in here,” he said.

Work is anticipated to begin the day after Labor Day 2021. “That’s a fairly aggressive schedule, but certainly doable,” Doherty said.

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© The Middletown Press, 2020