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Pool effort can't use community-preservation funds

UPDATED, Oct. 11: The pitch to add an indoor pool at a revamped Arlington High rolled out in earnest at Town Day, but the efforts by A-Pool have run into rules keeping the group from making a splash. 

Community-preservation funds are no longer an option.

Kate Radville, a member of A-Pool, has told YourArlington that the Community Preservation Committee cannot contribute the money it controls, because indoor facilities are not eligible.

Eric Helmuth, chair of the CPA Committee, confirmed that Oct. 10. After some research, he wrote, the CPA Committee determined that it cannot fund the feasibility study, because building indoor recreational structures are not eligible CPA projects under state law.

The state Department of Revenue, which oversees CPA in Massachusetts, says that any CPA-funded feasibility study must be directly related to an allowable purpose, he added.

Seeking alternative options

Radville wrote Oct. 6: "We will seek alternate routes for funding for a needs assessment/feasibility study.

That could include making a request later this year to the town's Capital Planning Committee and fund-raising, both suggested at the Oct. 3 AHS school-building committee meeting. 

A-Pool, a group of town residents who attended the first AHS Building Committee meeting last December, aimed to include an indoor pool in the school's design, but on Oct. 3, the group was rebuffed by the MSBA and then sought $20,000 in community-preservation funds.

Appearing at public participation of the Oct. 3 building-committee meeting were Renee Piazza and Radville. They spoke about about having year-round access with a pool that would serve students and the community.

Piazza noted much support and energy at Town Day. "People are excited," she told the committee.

A petition supporting including the group in a feasibility study has 731 signatures as of Oct. 10. 

They noted it is very early in the process.

School Committee Chairman Jeff Thielman, who also chairs the AHS committee, said a pool can't be funded by the MSBA, and he suggested applying for money through the Community Preservation Act.

A-Pool had already done that, applying by the Sept. 29 deadline. The CPA committee is to make its first round of decisions by its Oct. 17 meeting. Helmuth said no funding decisions are made at this phase.

The committee plans to make a determination of proposed project eligibility for CPA funding and provide informal feedback to applicants. A-Pool has already received its feedback. 

Applicants who pass this eligibility screening will be invited to submit final, detailed proposals that are due Dec. 8. The committee plans to complete its funding recommendations to the spring Town Meeting by late January.

Efforts in Winchester,  Wellesley

Radville said Oct. 3 that A-Pool members have spoken to similar groups in Winchester and Wellesley, where pools are underway. Read this account in the Swellesley Report >> 

Chapdelaine told Piazza and Radville that A-Pool is "on right track" in seeking CPA funding, and suggested also pursuing money via the town's Capital Planning Committee.

If Town Meeting next spring approves money for a needs assessment via capital planning, the funds would be available next July 1.

The available pool in Arlington is at the Boys & Girls Club. Its space does not accommodate all practices for the Arlington High swim team.

Chuck Adams of Skanska, the owner's project manager, said the MSBA has required the building with the pool to be separate from a high school that receives authority money.

Thielman added that the architect chosen by the MSBA cannot add a pool to its design.

The AHS building committee's next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the School Committee Room, sixth floor, AHS.

Oct. 4: 3 finalists chosen to design revamped Arlington High
Opinion, Sept. 27: Ready to dive in to support including a pool at new AHS?

This news summary was published Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, and updated Oct. 11, to add a link.

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