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Briarwood Pool to be filled with dirt

The defunct Briarwood Pool is to be filled in soon, using dirt from Town of Lockport ditching projects.

Stephen Wallace, a member of Friends of Briarwood, which owns the former pool and tennis club on Briarwood Drive in the City of Lockport, said Thursday that the 110,000-gallon pool, unused since 2009, will be leveled off and planted with grass.

Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith said the town is willing to give away dirt scraped from ditch-cleaning jobs and would haul it where needed if the distance from the job site to the destination is shorter than the trip to the town's old landfill on Salt Road.

"That's our policy for surplus dirt," Smith said.

Highway Superintendent David J. Miller has been supervising ditching work in the Lincoln Village subdivision, about a mile from the pool.

"They've been a lifesaver," Wallace said. "We were able to get the ditching dirt for free."

Wallace said Richard Desjardins, an engineer and member of the Friends of Briarwood, figured it would take 111 truck loads to fill in the pool. It's 12 1/2 feet deep at one end, 3 feet deep at the other.

Wallace said a bulldozer operator will punch holes in the side of the pool before it is filled in. A mound of dirt behind the abandoned Briarwood tennis courts is topsoil that will be used to top off the pool.

Briarwood Pool was a members-only organization that lasted for 45 years until rising costs reduced the membership so much the facility couldn't meet its costs.

Wallace said the city refused to rule the Friends a tax-exempt organization and take the four-acre property off the tax rolls, and the city also wasn't interested in making the site a park.

Friends of Briarwood filed a legal challenge to the property's assessment last year, and in an out-of-court settlement, the city cut the assessed value from $80,000 to $40,000.

Wallace said he's been pumping rain water out of the pool each year at his own expense. Once the pool is filled in, "Then we can legally take down the fence. It makes it a little more visually pleasing," he said.

He added, "We'll take the tennis things out of the ground, too."

The pool has been a liability headache, as vandals have been scaling the fence. "They've thrown picnic benches in there. They're in the deep end now," Wallace said.

He leaves the old office building unlocked, since the locks weren't keeping anyone from going in through the windows even though there's nothing left to steal.

The property has been listed for sale with Realty USA for several years. The current price is $55,000. The original asking price in 2009 was $130,000.

"Can you believe it? Four acres of land in the City of Lockport for $55,000," Wallace said.

The land is zoned residential, and Wallace said two speculative plot plans have been drawn up for homes.