New programs on offer at pool
Popsicle party set for Wednesday’s opening
NEW IPSWICH — Tomorrow, the New Ipswich Town Pool will once again open its doors for the summer with its annual tradition of a pool popsicle party — and for the first time in three years, residents who are looking to cool off during the summer months will not need to pay to take a dip.
Three years ago, when the town was operating under a default budget, the pool did not have enough funds to operate for the summer, so the decision was made to charge for the pools services, rather than not open at all, said Pool Director Elizabeth Pogorzelski in an interview Wednesday. But this year, the Select Board decided to do away with the fees and once again make open swim free for town residents.
Pogorzelski said that she was in favor of the change. “I’m really happy that we’re not charging. I think it’s something that we should be able to offer the residents,” she said. “Because of us charging we turned off a lot of families that had been regulars for years.”
The pool deck has gotten a much-needed facelift as well, she said, after the second half of much-needed pool renovations were completed this May. “It would be impossible not to recognize the changes,” said Porgorzelski. Among improvements were redoing the tiles in the pool itself, as well as redoing all of the concrete deck and coping, or the concrete lip that circles the pool itself. The renovations addressed some long-time safety issues, said Porgozelski, including smoothing the bottom of the pool, where kids were scratching their feet, and fixing the concrete decking, which was uneven and causing patrons to trip.
“They have been a long time coming,” she said. “Every year when we open, there’s always a bizarre problem, and rather then spend the money to really fix those issues, for budget reasons, we would just try to fix the problem at hand.” Major renovations were eventually recommended after the pool began leaking, said Porgozelski, and it became clear that a quick fix would not amend the problem. Last year, the town approved a $75,000 warrant article to make repairs to the pool itself and replace the pump, and this year, approved a further $75,000 in order to complete the decking work.
This year, the pool will have an additional three certified Water Safety Instructors to teach lessons, said Porgozelski. In addition to the swim classes the pool has always offered, they will be adding an additional two classes once a week starting in July — a water aerobics class and a mother and child swim class. The mother and child class, or “Tadpole” class, will be held on Wednesdays from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and will be for children under three years old. The aerobics class will be on Fridays from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Both classes will be $5 per class, and run on a come-as-you-can structure, said Porgozelski.
This year, for the first time, the pool will also be offering a trial period for the town’s swim team, The Breakers. From June 16 through June 23, prospective swimmers can attend practices to see whether they would like to join the team before committing. There is no cost to participate in the trial week. “Between eight and nine years ago, there was a really big team here,” said Porgozelski. “And it’s dwindled. We’re hooping to boost its popularity, since the kids that do it do have a really good time.”
The pool will also be continuing its tradition of movie night fundraisers, although no dates have been set, yet, said Porgozelski.
The pool opens for the summer Wednesday. Residents are invited to see the new renovations and take the first dip of the year during the pool’s popsicle party, which will be held from noon until 6 p.m.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.