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$50,000 pool makeover set for June debut

Aurora's community swimming pool will sport a fresh look by the time it opens June 11, thanks to a $50,000 makeover that will include new concrete decking, refurbished bathrooms and changing areas and a portable lift for the disabled.

When done, the extensive renovations -- $36,000 of which are funded by a federal community development block grant -- will complement significant work done three years ago by the town to the interior of the pool, located on South Street. The rest of the cost is covered by the town through in-kind services.

The lift will make entry easier for handicapped people and senior citizens who have difficulty using pool ladders.

The pool building also will be painted a new color, said Peggy Cooke, director of parks and recreation.

Even though the town is dealing with rising staff wages and also needs to install a new boiler at the pool, costing nearly $30,000, town officials said they want to keep membership rates relatively stable, increasing them by only $1, in the hope of boosting membership.

"We're trying to encourage families to come to the community pool," Cooke said. "The pool has looked shabby the last few years, but it's going to look awesome this year. This is the year to promote it and sell more passes."

Cognizant of rainy, cold weather that weakened attendance in 2003 and 2004, town leaders said they want to do whatever it takes to drum up more business and run the pool more efficiently in the face of rising staff costs because of the higher hourly rate for the minimum wage.

Town Supervisor Terence M. Yarnall agreed. "I don't want to overburden taxpayers with recreation fees," he said. "Peggy cut staff last year, and the last couple of years, the pool has suffered because of the weather."

The pool has 400 family memberships, but Cooke would like to see that boosted to 450. For town residents, a family of four would pay $72 this year, while a nonresident family of the same size would pay $102 for memberships paid by June 10. Membership rates for that size family are typically $10 more if paid after June 10.

Single memberships for residents will run $38 for the early-bird signup, or $44 otherwise, while nonresident single members would pay $70 or $78, respectively.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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