Belmont Savings Matching Grant Could Help Save Underwood Pool

There just might be outdoor swimming next summer in Belmont after all.

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, the community grant-making wing of Belmont Savings Bank, announced Thursday, Sept. 11 that it will match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $200,000 in private donations raised towards building a new Underwood Pool.

The potential $400,000 will allow the Underwood Building Committee to accept the current low bid of $4.55 million from Methuen-based New England Builders and Contractors to erect the new pool complex on the site of the current historic 102-year-old facility at Concord Avenue and Cottage Street.

“The bank understands how much Belmont residents care about the Underwood Pool, and once again they are partnering with us to make a positive difference in the community,” said Ellen Schreiber, secretary of the Underwood Pool Building Committee.

The future of the new two-pool facility had been in question since late August when the initial low bidder Seaver Construction of Woburn, abruptly withdrew its $3.84 million offer on the project that the Building Committee has budgeted at $4.16 million.

As a result of the Foundation’s challenge, the Building Committee is launching a fundraising campaign to raise $200,000 “from large donors as well as from the grassroots to complete the funding for the New Underwood Pool project,” said Schreiber, who has set up a donation website, www.underwoodpool.com

All donations are tax-deductible – the committee will be working with Belmont’s Partners in Play and the Winn Brook PTO – and is restricted for the pool project.

In a separate announcement, New England Builders and Contractors has agreed to extend until Oct. 31 signing a contract with the committee to build a new facility. The current deadline to award the work is Sept. 26. The firm also said it would build through the winter and attempt to have the structure open for the 2015 recreation season beginning the final week in June.

As a result, “[w]e need to raise $388,000 in donations as a public-private partnership … by October 31,” said Schreiber.

“The timeline is aggressive, but the grant from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation really makes it possible,” she said.

“As a donor, it is very exciting to know that every dollar you give is being doubled. And this is a true matching grant – for every dollar we raise, the foundation will give us a dollar, up to $200,000. So we encourage people to help complete the funding for the Underwood Pool,” said Schreiber, who is well-known for help leading a massive community effort to build the new Joey’s Park adjacent to Winn Brook Elementary on Cross Street that opened in October of last year.

Those interested in making a large donation can contact Ellen Schreiber at ellensch@verizon.net or 617-290-6216. Make donations of any size by check or online at www.UnderwoodPool.com.

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