Falmouth Aquatics chairman James C. Preisig updated the recreation department on the progress of building a private not-for-profit swim and wellness center in town during the committee’s Wednesday night meeting, August 13.
“People ask me why we need this since Falmouth is surrounded by water. I say we need a pool because we’re surrounded by water to teach people about water safety,” he said.
Mr. Preisig worked with a consulting firm to draw up plans for a 51-square-foot, two-story facility, complete with two pools, physical therapy area, fitness center, lockers and administrative space. The group is looking for a six- to nine-acre parcel to house the center.
The hallmark of the facility is the cold water lap pool that will consist of 11 25-yard lanes, three of which will be placed at the end of three lanes, creating an L-shaped pool. A removable marble bulkhead will separate the three lanes from the others, allowing recreational swimmers to swim laps without having to be next to more competitive swimmers. When the bulkhead is lifted, it will create three 50-foot lanes.
With a $1.6 million yearly price tag to run the facility, Mr. Preisig is looking to solar and/or natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) to halve the energy costs.
Committee member Kenneth M. Gartner asked if taxpayer money is needed for the project.
Mr. Preisig said the money will be raised via a fundraising campaign. They need another $30,000 before they can begin their capital campaign.
After a committee discussion, Falmouth Recreation Department director Helen E. Kennedy announced the capital improvement priorities for the next few years.
Upgrading the Trotting Park sports fields and track tops the list for fiscal year 2015. Replacing the gym floor at the Gus Canty Community Center is a priority for 2016, and new lights for the School Administration Building softball field and adding bleachers to the Sandwich Road fields made the list.
Committee members cited many fields and projects that needed upgrading, and said they may alter this list in subsequent years.
Returning after a three-year hiatus, the Falmouth summer sailing program was very successful, Ms. Kennedy said. She attributed the success to the two instructors hired this year.
“They are exceptional. And the parents are giving us positive feedback,” she said.
On another note, Ms. Kennedy said the Falmouth Skate Park Association has raised $240,000 to replace the current town skate park at Trotting Park. She also mentioned that Falmouth resident James C. Gahan donated $3,000 to the town’s recreation department that will be used for amenities at the Sandwich Road field complex. Mr. Gahan’s son, James C. Gahan IV, died in 2003 in The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island. To date, the family has contributed $43,000 to the recreation department.
The recreation department turned in $149,000 to the town from money generated from recreation programs in the last fiscal year.