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Hamburg pays $10K for scrapped swimming pool

The Town of Hamburg paid nearly $10,000 this summer for a pool that will never be built.

The Town Board approved borrowing $1.4 million last year to build a pool at the new senior-community center on Southwestern Boulevard, but two Town Board members are concerned over the cost.

“To have a pool would be great, but our finances aren’t where they once were,” Councilman Tom Best Jr. said. “We have to do it one project at a time.”

Best and Councilman Michael Quinn asked that money for the pool be taken out of the refinancing of debt earlier this summer, and it was. But the town still had to pay $9,800 in interest on the bond, Supervisor Steven J. Walters said.

“If we continue to go forward we would have been stuck with $1.4 million,” Best said.

There was little public discussion of the need for a new pool at the senior center before last year’s board voted 2-1 to borrow the money. Quinn voted against borrowing the money last year. Best joined the board in January, tipping the 2-1 split the other way, and they cut the money from the bond.

Walters remains in favor of the pool.

“I think it was a mistake,” he said of removing financing for the pool. “That was part of the larger plan with the senior center.”

He said the seniors use a therapeutic pool at the former senior center a great deal.

“We’ve already put a million-plus into the senior center,” Quinn said. “We already have a therapeutic pool. There’s no reason to put another one in.”

The town built the existing therapeutic pool at the former senior center on Sowles Road about 13 years ago, using about $250,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The town moved all of its senior activities, except the therapeutic pool, from the Sowles Road center to the new location in February. The new community center, which the town is leasing from the Frontier Central School District, includes senior services, adult day care and recreation offices.

Before he was elected, Best criticized the town for failing to consult with the Frontier School Board about the pool before approving the bond, and for not discussing it publicly before the vote.

“The total lack of transparency is mind-boggling regarding a $1.4 million bond issue,” he said during his campaign.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com

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