Cracks Won’t Prevent Underwood Pool From Opening, Saturday, June 18

Photo: The pool filled with water on Tuesday.

A few weeks back, a rumor was being spread in the local Starbucks/Dunkin’ Donuts that cracks – described as anywhere between “significant” to “devastating” – were discovered at the bottom of both Underwood pools as the less-than-a-year-old complex was being readied for its first full season scheduled to begin Saturday, June 18.

The people who said they heard the damage would result in the coming swimming season to be:

  1. delayed,
  2. suspended,
  3. closed forever;

and would lead to the pool being:

  1. repaired with the cracks costing a king’s ransom,
  2. forced to have the flooring ripped out and rebuilt, and 
  3. ruined beyond all hope.

But ask Anne Paulsen, the chair of the Underwood Pool Building Committee, the particulars of the rumors, and she will tell you one thing: “If the Health Department gives us the OK, [the pools] will be open on schedule.”

So if the chemical analysis of the water pumped into the twin pools this week is up to standards, the 2016 season will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday. (Current forecast over the weekend is for sun with the highs in the low 80s). 

So, what about the “major” cracks lining the bottom of the pool?

First, Paulsen was not happy to hear two weeks ago there was structural issues, even if they turned out to be hairline cracks mostly located in the shallow pool and on the deck. 

“It is less than a year old, so it was disconcerting what was discovered,” said Paulsen, who led the group that supervised the construction of the facility. 

According to Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte, the cracks – due to the pool walls expanding and contracting as the ground settles and shifts – were superficial and were not affecting the structural integrity of the swimming pool.

“We cleaned out the cracks and repaired it with an epoxy which did the job,” Marcotte told the Belmontonian.

In addition to the repairs, the deep end pool was repainted, said Paulsen. 

A few days later, before the Special Town Meeting on Monday, June 13, Paulsen gave members an update on the pool in the coming season. She told Town Meeting that the pool:

  • will have new shade structures (like umbrellas) along the edge of the pool to provide sun protection,
  • paper towels will be replaced by electric hand dryers in the bathrooms,
  • The crosswalk and sidewalk on Cottage Street will be completed.
  • In the fall an irrigation system will be installed to protect plants from the summer heat, and
  • vending machines are now located at the facility.

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For information on the pool, activities and membership, head over the Recreation Department’s website. 

Saying that 450 residents have signed up for passes, Paulsen advised the members to get theirs soon, “and enjoy the pool.”

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Comments

  1. Peggy says

    I hope the epoxy works. Brand new expensive pool had superficial cracks because of ground settling. Please correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t that have been thought of in constructing of the pool? I mean all ground structures settle sooner or later, but that said, wasn’t there something that could have prevented that? Many pools are being built now or have been built and the ground is settling so probably will have cracks? I don’t buy it. What I do buy is cheap construction used for the Underwood Pool.
    I’m surprised there are no other comments. When people of Belmont were demanding we needed a new pool it was front page news in the Citizen…dire situation. Not a peep now. I don’t get it. My taxes for this town are being spent for inconsequential issues. Build this and that and if it needs to be repaired in its first year, well thats the way it is. Nothing is ever done right in this town and don’t tell me that there a certain group of people who say what can and cannot be done for their pet projects which come first. You don’t go along with them then your vilified list.

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