Gloversville puts pool plans on pause, seeks funds

In this August 2021 file photo, Kim Larabee stands next to the former Littauer Pool, across from his residence on West Street in Gloversville. The pool closed in 2004. The pool and the structure have fallen into disrepair and the grounds are overgrown.

In this August 2021 file photo, Kim Larabee stands next to the former Littauer Pool, across from his residence on West Street in Gloversville. The pool closed in 2004. The pool and the structure have fallen into disrepair and the grounds are overgrown.

GLOVERSVILLE — After reviewing a 39-page feasibility study that offered three options — ranging in cost from $1.3 million to $4.1 million — for what the city could do to reopen its Littauer Pool Site, the Common Council appears to have tabled the issue indefinitely in favor of pursuing state grant funding to help pay for the costly project.

Mayor Vince DeSantis told the council at its Feb. 8 meeting that, rather than committing to any one of the three options now, the city should instead pursue funding and see what’s available to pay for any of them.

“Even though we don’t have the funds at this time, because it’s such a pricey item, we shouldn’t completely close the book on it, because we may be in a position, in a few years, to do something about that,” DeSantis said. “So, I just think the report should just be tabled … or at least put away in the back of our minds for future possibilities.”

The city hired Albany-based engineering firm Barton & Loguidice last October to write the “Littauer Pool Site Feasibility Study”, a required first step toward applying for state and federal money aimed at rehabilitating or replacing the 1957-vintage 7,725 square foot T-shaped pool, its smaller 490-square-foot spray pool, and the location’s long-closed 1920s era bathhouse — all located at the city-owned facility at 3 Frontage Road.

The fate of the Littauer Pool site had become something a political football heading into the November 2021 city elections, with Republican mayoral candidate William Rowback Jr. and 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio advocating the city focus some resources on restoring the old pool site. However, the majority of the council remained weary of spending city funds on the location. The $15,750 cost of hiring Barton & Loguidice to write the feasibility study came entirely from $16,000 left over from a $24,100 grant the city received from the Littauer Foundation in 2007 for the purpose of supporting pool operations at the site.

More: Gazette coverage from Fulton and Montgomery counties

The Littauer Pool Site Feasibility Study determined the main Littauer Pool, closed since 2002, is in considerable disrepair, and it will require millions of dollars to bring the facility and its buildings up to present-day safety codes.

The study presented the city with these three options:

  • Renovate the existing facilities, restoring the pool to operation and building a new bathhouse for $3.5 million — “The cost would increase if asbestos containing materials and lead paint are found in the existing bathhouse and storage sheds requiring specialized abatement prior to demolition of the buildings,” reads the report. “If the diving board into the deep end is eliminated, there would be a cost savings of approximately $37,000, which includes a new diving board and extending the deep end depth to 8’-6” to meet New York state Dept. of Health requirements.”
  • Replace the existing pool with a similar type pool of a smaller size with new splash pad spray park, new concrete deck area and new bathhouse for $4.1 million — “The splash pad spray park would be approximately 1,200 square feet with a series of ground sprays and aboveground spray features with an integral control system for intermittent user operation,” reads the report. “A recirculating type splash pad spray park would require some supervision on a periodic basis, but may not require a dedicated supervisory staff person while in operation.”
  • Replace the existing pool, bathhouse and shed buildings with a new splash pad and bathroom facility for $1.3 million — “As an alternative, the splash pad spray park could incorporate a “once through” type water supply system using potable water that is not recirculated, with the splash pad drain directed to either sanitary sewer while in use, or the storm sewer system when not in use,” reads the report. “The once-through type system does not require NYSDOH review and approval, staff supervision (lifeguards) or periodic testing. The once through system also would eliminate the need for a Pool Filtration and Treatment space in the new bathroom facility, reducing the square footage required or using that space for storage.”

During the council’s first discussions about the “Littauer Pool Site Feasibility Study” at its Jan. 25 meeting, 2nd Ward Councilman Art Simonds said his preference is definitely for the less expensive $1.3 million splash pad idea.

Sixth Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski agreed that he thinks the splash pad is a better option than trying to restore or replace the pool.

First Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss said her concern with attempting to bring back the Littauer Pool goes beyond the money it would cost for the project. She said she’s concerned about the long-term cost of the city having to hire lifeguarding staff and pool maintenance expenses.

Anadio, whom DeSantis has credited with being primarily responsible for spearheading public awareness of the pool issue, disagreed with Simonds and Siarkowski. She said the city should pursue grants aimed specifically at bringing back a pool to the location. She also said she believes the city’s Department of Public Works employees could be tapped to do some of the rehabilitation work at the site less expensively than Barton & Loguidice estimates.

While Simonds said he’s not against applying for grant funding, he’s skeptical the overall cost can be justified for a pool replacement or rehabilitation.

More: Gazette coverage from Fulton and Montgomery counties

“I think we can look into it, but over $4 million is a bit pricey for an 8 to 10-week activity,” Simonds said. “I think if you really look at that site, that’s a spray pad site with a nice picnic area, with swings, maybe half-court basketball. That would take care of everybody down there. Less maintenance, less attendance, less everything. You get into a pool and you’re looking at all kinds of rules and regulations that we had to do. If you want to look into it — I’m more than glad to look into it — but $3.5 million is a lot for an activity that only lasts a couple of months, and not even a couple of months. This is New York, you know, we don’t have much of a summer.”

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