WEST HARTFORD — The town council voted last week to allocate up to $2.5 million for the construction of a new pool and bathhouse at Eisenhower Park.
The pool was set to be rebuilt in 2025, but a failure of the facility’s infrastructure last year has caused the town to fast-track its redevelopment.
The pool at Eisenhower Park was originally built in 1964 and is the oldest in the town. Its closure has left that park of West Hartford without a swimming pool.
“This is an important asset for our community,” Mayor Shari Cantor said. “Swimming is one of the most important skills you can teach your children. It’s a life-saving skill. It’s important to have access to it in all areas of our town.”
The plan is for the pool to be completed and open for the 2023 summer season.
Town Manager Matt Hart said to make room for this in the capital improvement plan, they will deauthorize around $2 million in funding that was marked for flood mitigation infrastructure improvement projects. Those projects won’t be pushed off, though, as the town plans to use money from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund them.
The project drew unanimous support from the town council, who viewed it as a necessary asset to the town.
“I support for sure the pool to be redone. We need a pool in that part of town,” council member Mary Fay said. “I can’t say enough about recreational activities for everybody. I was a competitive swimmer and I was a lifeguard at the pools in East Hartford for many years. Having a pool in another part of town is a great thing.”
Cantor said the pool offers a great reprieve for many families in the summer.
“We have seen intense periods of heat, and this is a really important place for families to go to get relief from that heat, as well as it being recreational and fitness,” Cantor said.
Council member Leon Davidoff said he’s glad the council and town took the issue up so quickly after realizing the issue.
“I’d like to indicate that this is evidence of this body acting responsibly and being responsive to the needs of the community,” Davidoff said. “Once we heard the pool had failed during that season there was immediate contact with administration to take the necessary steps to find a solution and to get this replaced and rebuilt and get it online as soon as possible.”