FLEMINGTON, NJ - If you’re ready for some fun in the sun this summer, you will be able to grab your swimsuit and head to the Flemington-Raritan Community Pool.
After a two-year closure, the pool was “gifted” to the Hunterdon County YMCA, and the plan is to open it for the 2020 summer season.
At the Feb. 24 council meeting, HCYMCA President/CEO Bruce Black and Dr. Andrew Cedarbaum, president of the YMCA Board of Trustees, gave a presentation on the community pool project.
The pool project was initiated in 1963 by then Flemington Police Chief Barton Evans, with a goal of keeping teens busy and out of trouble when school was not in session. Evans was the first full-time police officer to be hired by the borough in 1948, and he was also the first police chief of Flemington and served in the department for a total of 31 years.
His vision for a community pool to keep youth engaged over the summer months is again becoming a reality.
The community pool was set up as a non-profit, and was overseen by the Flemington-Raritan Community Pool Board of Directors.
Over the years, the pool was maintained by volunteer parents, however, with no funding in place and a lack of professional know-how, the condition began to deteriorate. And by the summer of 2018, the pool was unusable.
The pool had remained under the control of the board of directors, and, in 2018, they approached another non-profit, the HCYMCA, about taking over responsibility for the pool.
After a year of discussion and careful deliberation between the board of directors of the Flemington-Raritan Community Pool and the HCYMCA Board of Trustees, the pool and property was officially deeded over to the Y.
Black told Mayor Betsy Driver and the borough council, “This [project] will give the Y a strong identity in Flemington and make us an aquatic leader in Hunterdon County.”
Located next to the Reading Fleming Intermediate School, the site covers 6 acres zoned recreational, with the pool, a deck, ping-pong area, basketball courts and a parking lot. Black said the Y is considering adding pickle ball courts and maybe eventually a bubble that will keep the pool open year-round.
Black explained that the Y’s Deer Path Branch Pool is at capacity and has limited growth potential. He said that with the acquisition of the Flemington-Raritan Community Pool, the Y will be hiring an additional 35 to 40 seasonal staffers, providing jobs and leadership training for teens and young adults.
The Y’s program expansion will include a larger stingray swim academy schedule to accommodate about 2,000 swim lessons, certifying 150 lifeguards, a HCYMCA swim team, water safety classes, water fitness activities, Special Olympic swim and senior swim programs.
The pool is constructed out of quarter inch steel and holds 250 gallons of water. Repairs will include a commercial grade pool liner, fixing leaking pipes, replacing the deck, upgrading the bathhouse, overhauling the pool system to bring it up to code and making the area ADA compliant.
The cost of the renovations is being estimated at $750,000.
“We’re working with a wonderful local contractor that is helping us to keep costs down,” said Black.
The Y is seeking to raise an additional $250,000 as an endowment and to establish financial assistance fund.
In December 2019 fundraising efforts began.
“Since the kickoff, we’ve raised $315,000,” Black told the council. He added that they have a “Plan B” if the goal amount isn’t met, but hope they won’t need it.
The cost for a family summer membership is $595. However, the fee for families in need of financial assistance will be set on a sliding scale.
There will be approximately 500 memberships open to all Hunterdon County residents.
For more information about the project, to donate or to become a member, visit the website at hcymca.org