A dozen residents appeared before the Selectmen Tuesday evening and may have set the machinery in motion which will produce the end result of one swimming pool at the Fr. McAleer Playground.
Mrs. Mary Dempsey, 4-1 Florence ave., acting as spokesman for the group presented the Board with a petition containing more than 900 names requesting that funds for the pool be made available at the next special Town Meeting. Mrs. Dempsey also presented estimates from Cox & Whitmore, a firm on Route 1 which constructs pools on costs for various sized pools.
The Board expressed sympathy with the idea but some members questioned the possibility of getting such a large appropriation through a Special Town Meeting with the Annual Town Meeting only a few weeks away.
Chairman Harry Butters cited the S40.000 cost of the South Norwood pool and estimated that a similar pool today would cost in the $60,000-$75,000 neighborhood especially if a bathhouse, chlorination or other facilities were included.
He felt that the group did not appreciate the complexity involved in having the Town Engineering Department make the necessary studies and estimates so that the Finance Commission could make a definite recommendation at Town Meeting. He pointed out that the Engineering Department was swamped with work as it is and felt it “unfair to come in at the eleventh hour” with such a major project. The Board’s final meeting with the Finance Commission before Town Meeting was scheduled for next Sunday.
Although expressing himself in favor of a pool Butters opined that as far as its chances were concerned it “certainly wouldn’t be this year.”
Selectman Alec Abdallah interjected the often discussed but never used Selectmen’s Fund into the hearing. He suggested that the $80,000 donated years ago for a war memorial could be used for this project. John Griffin of 100 Lincoln st and Mrs. Ellen Dixon of 21 Maple st. both opposed this suggestion. They referred to the insoluble difficulties that have always attended efforts to reach an agreement on a suitable method of using the Fund in the past.
Selectman James Drummey felt that the petition should go on a warrant since only 100 odd signatures were required by law to achieve this end and many more than that were contained in the petition.
Selectmen Walter Dempsey made the suggestion which was finally adopted by the Board. He moved that the Special Town Meeting already scheduled for March 27 be postponed until the same evening as the Annual Adjourned Town Meeting in April. He felt that the additional weeks gamed would enable the Town Enginering Department to make the necessary studies and cost estimates.
Selectman C. Lothrop Rich’s suggestion that the group get together with the Town Engineer on the type of pool that would be most suitable was also O.K.’d by the board and a representative of the petitioners will be chosen for this purpose.
(Originally appeared in the March 13, 1959 Norwood Messenger)
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