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RED BANK: POOL LAWSUIT CLAIMS NEGLIGENCE

red-bank-riverview-towers-pool-091319-2-500x332-2353758Work to replace the Riverview Towers pool was underway last week, as seen from a balcony. The deck of the Atrium at Navesink Harbor is visible at left. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red-bank-riverview-towers-091319-220x146-7220731Sixteen months after their swimming pool mysteriously popped out of the ground, residents of the Riverside Towers high-rise in Red Bank are rebuilding their treasured riverfront amenity.

Meantime, they’re also in court against a number of vendors, offering an unusual explanation for the, um, floating pool.

riverview-towers-poolhouse-rendering-091319-3-500x324-4549309An architect’s drawings of the proposed replacement pool and new poolhouse. (Renderings by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge.)

riverview-towers-poolhouse-rendering-091319-1-220x142-1766917Borough officials condemned the pool in May, 2018, after it abruptly rose several feet, upheaving the surrounding concrete deck.

Early attention focused on an imbalance in hydrostatic pressure between the pool and the Navesink River, which surrounds it on three sides, as a possible cause.

But a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Freehold by the building’s owners alleges human error for leaving open a valve that poured millions of gallons of water into the bulkhead surrounding the pool.

According to the suit, filed last October, the pool was nearly empty in preparation for its annual cleaning when, on May 15, “it suddenly lifted by several feet,” buoyed up by water contained within the bulkhead that surrounded it.

The water level within the bulkhead “was many feet above the level of the nearby Navesink River,” the lawsuit claims.

The next day, an employee of the building management firm First Service Residential turned off a freshwater valve inside the building that he suspected was the culprit, according to the lawsuit. Soon after, the pool began to settle as the water level in the bulkhead subsided, it says.

The lawsuit alleges the incident occurred after First Service hired two contractors who made changes to improve water pressure within the 12-story, 150-unit co-op building.

It also occurred about two weeks after residents notified the First Service that “a large volume of water was being discharged from a pipe near the bulkhead, located next to the pool,” and that “the sound of rushing water could be heard when standing next to the pool.”

The suit claims that over a 24-day period starting May 1, the building consumed nearly 5.8 million gallons of municipal water, or 10 times the daily average seen over the prior four years.

Though residents sent emails and videos to the firm about the situation, First Service “dismissed the residents’ concerns and took no action,” the suit alleges.

A spokeswoman for First Service told redbankgreen that the company had no comment on the lawsuit, which also names the contractors and an insurance company as defendants.

While the case proceeds, the bulkhead has been rebuilt and reconstruction of the pool has begun, with plans for a new poolhouse, said Michael Collins, secretary to the building owners’ board of trustees.

The poolhouse will replace a 50-year-old structure that offered little more than a restroom and showers with a gathering space that can be utilized year-round, plus a second-story viewing area that the old one didn’t have, said architect Mike Simpson, of some Architects.

The co-op also has a marina at the end of the bulkhead for lease by both residents and non-residents that’s been inaccessible since the incident, Collins said. It’s expected to open with the pool and poolhouse next year, he said.

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