PJ BLOGGER

Ridgewood looks close on pricey aquatic center

In Graydon Pool, Ridgewood New Jersey, Ridgewood Olympic Committee on January 26, 2009 at 12:13 am

Friday, January 23, 2009

BY EVONNE COUTROS

NorthJersey.com

STAFF WRITER

RIDGEWOOD ā€” The Village Council will decide next week whether to move ahead with architectural plans for a proposed $13.9 million aquatic center that includes four pools, water slides, expanded locker and concession facilities, and a playground.

The plan would replace the sand-bottom Graydon Pool on Linwood and North Maple avenues and follows two years of meetings, tours of aquatic facilities, pool chat sessions, studies and surveys.

Village Manager James Ten Hoeve has concerns about the plan, which would rely on membership fees for funding.

“The point is to make an in-ground state-of-the-art facility which, based on information, should attract membership,” Ten Hoeve said. “The key, the absolute key to this whole thing working, is membership. They need members.”

Economic times are a worry, Ten Hoeve said. “What makes me nervous is the state of the economy, people losing jobs, or not being given their job bonuses,” he said.

The facility as presented would include a toddler pool, leisure pool with two slides and bench seating, a dive well with one- and two-meter boards, and an 8-lane, 25-yard lap pool with starting blocks.

There would be new landscaping, a sand play area, a renovated and expanded concession area, and new locker rooms with showers.

The pool would be open to non-residents who would pay a higher rate than the annual $150 per person fee and the maximum fee cap of $750 per year set for a resident family, Ten Hoeve said.

Non-residents would be permitted to join if the 8,000 membership level is not reached through resident memberships.

That’s where Ten Hoeve said he has concerns for the village.

“I don’t know how to measure will people pay $750 for their family versus going to Long Beach Island for a week,” Ten Hoeve said. “The projection is they will have 8,000 members within three years of its opening.

The village would issue a bond for the cost of construction and design over 25 years. Ten Hoeve said it could have a 30-year life because the project qualifies under the local bond.

The facility could open in 2011 and would be self-funded with membership fees picking up the debt.

The dollar figures are based on 5,000 residents joining the new aquatic center, but Ten Hoeve said the village has to rely on the Graydon Pool Advisory Committee consultants’ projection of membership.

Current membership at the sand-bottom Graydon Pool is around 3,900, Ten Hoeve said.

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  1. Everytime I see the current membership at Graydon the # is different. The membership for the 2008 season has been cited anywhere from 2700-3900. IA big difference. I totally agree that to take out a bond on the hope that enough members will support it is risky, especially over 25 years.

    Either raise Graydon’s fees a little to help with the loss it is experiencing or come up with a cheaper design. Yes the cheaper design will look more like a traditional municipal pool than people would like, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. What we have now is beautiful, but a few ducks swimming in it disgust so many, so they think we need something “better”. You’ll have to be satisified with a couple of rectangular concrete shapes. At least you can see your toes, isn’t that what you want. We can do without the jacquzzi jets and lazy rivers. I know you think this is “Ridgewood” and we need a pool that will be the envy of all others. It’s time to get over yourself!!

  2. I think we can have a very tasteful re-development of Graydon Pool, incorporating a concrete bottom. However, the concept that was displayed in the flyer is NOT it. The drawing looked more like something that I would expect to see at Wally World or some kind of water park in the Poconos.

    I understand the price tag needs to viewed in the context of a multi decade time frame. But, let’s face it…it was over the top.

    Why don’t we consider the following?

    1) Lose the “lazy river concept entirely…it’s cheezy.

    2) Condense the layout a bit to reduce the footprint of the project, which will help to reduce cost of construction, piping, filtration, etc dramatically and improve the safety by making it easier for lifeguards to cover the various pools.

    3) Change the pool bottom color from a bright blue to a darker blue in all but the lap pool and diving pool. This will allow them to integrate into the natural setting a bit more and make them aesthetically more pleasing.

    4) Incorporate many more tall trees and shrubs to screen most of the pools from each other and from the surrounding streets. Again this will help integrate the project into the natural setting more and provide a greater sense of privacy that does not exist today.

    Perhaps these alterations would allow the area of the current facility nearest to Maple Ave available for some other form of recreational use, rather than the largely wasted space that exists today.

  3. They said that they would try to keep the “natural” look. The pool design looks about as natural as six flags great adventurs.

  4. 8:22…I agree with making changes to the design, but they do have to be conscious of safety, too. Changing the bottom color poses a hazard for lifeguards scanning the bottom and trees in between pool doesn’t allow lifeguards to scan across to the other pools.

    The Village is currently faced by a large lawsuit, but the design doesn’t seem to have enough of a safety focus.

  5. The 3,900 membership in the story is misleading… it was closer to 2,500 and included out-of-towners with no aquatic facility of their own.

    Numbers and Design has finally attracted some attention. Interesting how many dissenters have become design experts…. where were they these past 20 years… hiding in the bushes?

  6. Please don’t do this!!!

  7. A photo or two here would have been helpful… with a LINK connection to the Ballard consultant’s list of clients and the varied designs that fitted their community.

    Finally we have lots of “new design” recommendations. Unfortunately they are 20 years too late. Memberships are less than 2,000 and that included out-of-towners without pools of their own.

    Yes, I know I said the same thing at the Ridgewood Views but, who really reads this stuff?

    James, love that (daily photo)of you still sitting on that platform keeping your feet out of the mud. Design disenters still love that muck and mire.

    Stay warm and dry…you hear!

  8. Ever think that the dissenters have been enjoying Graydon for the past 20 years and have not had a reason to weigh in on design concepts? Don’t cry and scream because everyone doesn’t agree with your plan. You should have learned that concept in kindergarten.

  9. “…but Ten Hoeve said the village has to rely on the Graydon Pool Advisory Committee consultants’ projection of membership.”

    That part of the article is REALLY SCARY.

    Go ahead Mr. Ten Hoeve, rely on this outside, unelected third party to decide whether Village taxpayers should be on the hook for 30 mil. Then, fire yourself. What good are you anyway?

  10. This proposal begins with the supposition that Graydon must be remade into an aquatic center.

    There are many who would like to keep it the way that it is. $13 – are you kidding????

  11. 3,900 membership in the story is misleading…

    For sure, they should have looked at Ridgewood resident members.

    Between Jersey Shore folks, people with pools in their backyards, Indian Trails and Ridgewood CC folks, 8,000 sounds like a really high number of members.

    I know I wouldn’t join because we leave town for the summer.

  12. Becoming an “elected official” doesn’t mean that you are now smarter.

    Officials must rely on various study committess or groups that research “in detail”… the process for intelligent decision making. Having detail knowledge of the project is what’s important.

    Unfortunately dissenters… arrive late in the process, though sincere respond to fear posters.

    Listen, learn and digest information before you make a knee-jerk opinion please.

  13. $13 MILLION for a swim pool center is No knee-jerk.

    This initially, and still is, in the Master Plan which hasn’t been passed, not voted on still as Yet, and the pool was recommended at $2Million!

    Who’s knee-jerkin whom? How did the cart get in front of the horse? The public was to have a PUBLIC hearing with the VC on the Master Plan with the pool recommendation and all other recommendations, such as the Schleder Property, Parking garage, turf fields, so on, in order to approve it or not -and if not approved, then the Master Plan could be used as a “guide” for projects for the village, that has never taken place.

    What a great way our VC works! Not! The public has been Overridden. The 28th VC meeting will determine or not, to give the go ahead for the next step of the pool project.

    Urge the Village Council that under these current economic conditions this simply won’t allow this to work.

  14. 3,900 is a big number.

    Why redo the pool just to bring that number up to 5,000?

    Had these folks asked for a regular pool, just like Glen Rock, there wouldn’t be any “knee-jerk”.

    13.9 million should cause some eyebrows to be raised – even in Ridgewood.

  15. Graydon is not a problem looking for a solution. Not everyone agrees that it needs to be changed.
    Slow down. This town does not have $13 million to spend on such a crazy project.

  16. the talk of the town is they are talking about laying off cops and fire and some other workers in town,and at the end of the year the ground workers for the bord of ed may get laid off what a shame.this town is going to look like a dump.more and more taxes and less workers,what the hell is going on,I think that they have something up thare arm.we will see .all I know is I been in town for a long time on maple av,and I seen to munch bs.

  17. Come to the meeting tonight and let your voice be heard!

  18. Sorry, I meant come to the meeting on Wednesday to let voices be heard!

  19. I am a mother of 3 who would like a clean, safe, fun place to spend time in the summer. We travel in the summers, too but there is plenty of time before and after the summer break to enjoy the pools. Something HAS to be done about the safty issue. You can’t even see the kids underwater and its not about the law suits, its about the loss of life. I’m for this change but I would expect it to enhance the area visually and in recreation. Just keep the colors earth tones and it won’t stick out! Lazy river sounds GREAT!

  20. I’m the mother of 3 who you just saw above, I just read that the Ridgewood High School will use the adult pool M – F in the afternoons for practice. If this is true, I would NOT pay to use the proposed plan. Where would the adults swim? Sorry, that would blow it for me.

  21. Get rid of the pool, or change it very little. To those that don’t like Graydon the way it is… join the Y.

  22. Ridgewood has a polulation of about 25,000 people. Whether you assume 5000 or 8000 members, that is a lot of people as a % of the town’s population, especially when you consider the % of the population that are senior citizens and are probably not likely to join the pool.

    We would love to see an upgraded Graydon (we are regular users), but let’s use much more conservative projections so that we don’t risk having a financial albatross.

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