By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The question is this: will it be a cannonball or a doggy paddle that the township committee decides upon?
All options are on the table for the aging, maintenance-heavy Middletown Swim and Tennis Club. The committee, looking for ways to either increase revenues at the club or unburden itself from the cost and labor of keeping it open, held a meeting Monday night to start reviewing options, which range from the status quo to the extreme.
Tearing it down is one. Bringing in another entity take it over and operate it is another. Letting it run as it has for years is also a possibility, though an undesirable one.
“I do believe we are at a crossroads of being all in or all out at this point,” Council President Anthony Fiore said. “We can’t continue to just maintain.”
Although numbers weren’t available Monday night, officials have said in the past that revenues for the club are down this year. It is only open for the summer, and “it’s very hard to get your money back in three months,” said Committeeman Sean Byrnes.
The aging building and facilities need serious TLC, Byrnes said. With less money coming in it’s harder to maintain, he said, and it snowballs from there.
The result is a compromised club, said Bill Meyers, a longtime member. He said there are scum stains on the pool’s water line, rust spots at the entrance and an all-around uncozy feel to it.
“It’s the little things like that,” he said. “People come in and they don’t want to come back.”
Which is unfortunate, because the pool is a valued asset to the town, Byrnes said. With the right change, perhaps a major one, he said there’s a strong chance of getting it back to its former state.
“It needs to be studied,” Byrnes said.
In other news from the meeting:
The township recycling center will, beginning in September, be closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays to save an approximate $28,000 annually. Those days see less volume at the center and a new town-wide recycling program, where public works picks up paper and cardboard curbside, will offset the center’s days that it’s closed, officials said. The town is considering an informational campaign to let residents know about the new recycling pick up.
Though lightly touched upon, the committee is considering using part of a controversial bond to make upgrades to some of its weather-battered playing fields. The committee came to no resolution what to do with the approved $2.5 million spending package, which was set to overhaul two of the town’s fields but put on the shelf because of the fiscal climate. But officials said a portion of it could be used to help make improvements to a few recreation spots that were hit hard by the summer’s dry weather. The committee has asked chief financial officer Nick Trasente to explore the matter further.