If it is a hot summer day, you may just find Anthony Nicolich sitting by the Secaucus pool reading a book while his 12-year-old daughter, Kayla, swims with her friends. Nicolich, a JV soccer and freshman basketball coach, has been a member of the pool for 32 years, returning each year since he was 8. Originally from Weehawken, he’s lived in Secaucus 17 years.
“I always get a nice welcome.” – Bernard Weber
On any given day you may find a long line at the diving board in the designated diving pool, families strewn out on the grassy lawns sunbathing on blankets, or people sitting on the edge of the main pool with their legs dangling in the cool water.
Obviously, the Secaucus Swim Center is a popular attraction this time of year.
Secaucus’ town pool has about 650 members, according to John Schwartz, recreation facility director, and the town has tried various promotions to bring in revenue.
“Membership is split almost down the middle between residents and non-residents,” said Schwartz. Memberships are available to Secaucus residents while non-residents must be sponsored by a Secaucus resident who is a 2011 member. The town also participates in an inter-local program through which people from Hoboken, Nutley, Weehawken, and Rutherford can become members of the pool at a discounted rate.
The pool also generates income from rentals to summer day camp groups. Another source of income comes from the guest passes.
“We have some days where guest passes are a nice source of income,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz said the pool income is up $50,000 from last year just in guest passes alone. Income is very much dependent on the weather – sun-filled summer days make for increased attendance.
Lifeguards and saves
The pool has 12 lifeguards working on a single day of amongst a total of 40 trained lifeguards on call. Lifeguards undergo two weeks of training during a 32-hour program. During the week, lifeguards perform between five to 15 “saves,” diving into the pool to prevent someone from drowning.
“The lifeguards are very good, always on top of it,” said Schwartz.
Town Administrator David Drumeler said in an interview that the pool operates at a deficit but that they are always tinkering to increase income by revamping staffing models and changing the hours. The lifeguards are staffed above levels to ensure safety.
At the June 28 council meeting, Deputy Mayor Bueckner spoke in regard to revenue from the pool, “We are still slightly below last year, down about $2,500 from last year. Hopefully we can make that up. We’ve had a couple of bad days.”
“We think [the pool club] is a good amenity,” said David Drumeler. “The kids love it, families seem to love it – for the most part everyone enjoys their time down there.”
The swim center has been part of Secaucus since the 1970s when the town sought to provide summertime recreation alongside Schmidts Woods. Tucked away on Koelle Blvd., it continues to offer just that, a bit of relaxation and refreshment.
Besides the diving and main pool, little children can wade in the kiddie pool and older kids can take a spin down the slide. The kiddie pool underwent renovations six years ago around the same time the slide was installed to increase membership during a lull period.
Bernard and Linda Weber, lifelong residents with deep roots in Secaucus, have been members of the pool on and off over the last six or seven years.
“I always get a nice welcome,” said Bernard Weber.
The couple likes to sit and relax and watch their 7-year-old son Peter play.
“He loves it,” said Linda Weber.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.