Many kids in Hudson County will be able to get into at least one splash fight or perform at least one cannonball this summer. There is an outdoor or indoor pool located in almost every town.
"In an urban area, it is very important to keep the kids busy," said Bob Hurley, director of Jersey City's Department of Recreation, last week. "It is not only important to keep the kids busy, but also to have them involved in quality experiences."
Although many of the lifeguards that work at these facilities were in school until the middle of June, many pools opened for the heat waves in May and early June.
"Whenever we could get the kids to work, we opened the pool," said West New York's Director of Recreation Dennis DeSocio, who said that the town pool was open during the recent hear wave in June.
Secaucus residents will be sharing their outdoor municipal swim center, located on Koelle Boulevard, with North Bergen residents this summer.
The Secaucus pool facility, which has been opened on weekends since Memorial Day weekend and opened full-time on June 15, features two large pools, one diving tank and a wading pool for children.
North Bergen Township's 34-year-old municipal swimming pool was shut down due to environmental problems this year. The pool was located between 89th and 91st streets below Tonnelle Avenue.
Both soil and groundwater samples taken by Bell Environmental, an environmental consulting firm in Budd Lake, New Jersey, in December showed that the area had higher levels of contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which can cause cancer, than accepted by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The consulting firm also found oil located below the complex. It is believed that the cleanup will cost the town approximately $2.4 million.
This closure has forced the 1,200 families that were members of the swim center last summer to look elsewhere for their summer swimming activities. However, due to an agreement between North Bergen and Secaucus, many of those families will be swimming less than 10 miles away from their homes.
Although North Bergen families will experience a rate increase for membership at the Secaucus pool, these families will be paying less per membership than other out-of-town members this summer.
This year, at the Secaucus center, North Bergen's residents will be charged $185 for an individual under 21 and $220 for an individual over 21. A household of two will pay $305 and pay $65 for each additional child. Senior citizens pay $125 individually or $195 for a household of two.
Other out-of-town residents who use the Secaucus pool will pay $225 for those under 21 and $270 for those over. Regular in-town rates are $145 for under 21 and $175 for over.
"We are still out-of-towners," said Lydia Coleman, the recreation supervisor for North Bergen. "But it will be a little cheaper."
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco said that the town hopes to have a new complex operating by the summer of 2004.
Since Weehawken does not have a pool facility, the children enrolled in the Weehawken recreation program are bused to the West New York swim center.
Starting from scratch
Union City also had to close its outdoor swimming pool this summer. After more than 20 years, the pool on 47th Street and Palisade Avenue in Union City was demolished.
The pool was demolished because city workers found a hollowing in the ground below the pool while trying to fix cracks in the old outdoor pool last summer. According to Michael Leggiero, the commissioner of parks and public property, this hollowing could have caused the pool to collapse.
Tentative plans for a new pool facility, including a children's wading pool, locker rooms and bathrooms, are currently in the works. The new pool facility may also include a glass ceiling that can slide open in the summertime.
"We want to replicate on a smaller scale what we have at the Bruce D. Walter Recreation Center," said Michael Leggiero, the city's commissioner of the Department of Parks and Public Property.
The Walter Recreation Center, located on Fifth and West streets, has an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool that hosts the Special Olympics Swimming semi-finals for athletes in Hudson and Bergen counties.
The Board of Commissioners awarded a $12,000 public service agreement to CAP Services, Inc. of Orange County at their Feb. 5 meeting to begin demolition, which has recently been completed.
At that same meeting, the commissioners also gave the go-ahead to apply for Green Acres funding to build the new pool on that site.
West New York has also been renovating their municipal swim center each year since 1995. This year, DeSocio said that the complex, located on 60th Street directly below Boulevard East, had a new stairway leading to the pool and a new pool deck built to complete the pool renovations.
The West New York swim center is open to non-residents. According to DeSocio, West New York residents who do not wish to become members but still want to use the pool pay $5 on the weekdays and $10 on the weekend for use of the pool. Non-West New York residents will pay $6 during the week and $12 on weekends.
In the swim
Jersey City has 13 pools open to its residents and Hoboken has also opened the pool at Hoboken High School for the summer.
Beginning on June 24, the pools located at Public School No. 6, Public School No. 16, Public School No. 22, Public School No. 23, Public School No. 27, Public School No. 39, Public School No. 40, Public School No. 41, all in Jersey City, will have their pool facilities open to Jersey City residents Monday through Friday. Dickinson, Ferris and Lincoln high schools will also open their pools to the public in Jersey City on Monday through Friday.
Public School No. 27, Public School No. 40, Public School No. 41 and Dickinson and Ferris high schools' pools will also be open on weekends.
The City of Jersey City will open its outdoor pool on Pavonia and Westside Avenue seven days a week for Jersey City residents and the indoor Olympic-sized pool at Pershing Field will also be open seven days a week.
The Pershing Field facility is open to non-Jersey City residents as well. In this case, there are fees. On Monday through Friday adults pay $3 and children pay $2 to swim. On the weekends, adults pay $4 and children pay $3 to use the pools. Senior Citizens pay $1 all seven days.
The Hoboken High School Pool is open to Hoboken residents Monday through Thursday. Toddlers, accompanied by an adult, use the pool from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; beginners from ages 5 through 10, also accompanied by an adult, use the pool from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and children ages 8 through 13 can use the pool from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Family swim is held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A $25 fee for six weeks of family swim will be charged for Hoboken families who wish to use the pool at that time. Family swim consists of two adults and up to three children. There will be a $10 charge for each additional child.
The pool also offers adult swim conditioning classes from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday.
Each town is also offering a wide variety of activities, field trips and sports for its residents and children that does not include the water.
For more information, call the recreation departments in each town. In Hoboken, call (201) 420-2012; in Secaucus call (201) 866-2421; in Jersey City call (201) 547-4582; in Weehawken call (201) 319-6061; in North Bergen call (201) 392-2061, in West New York call (201) 295-5080 and in Union City call (201) 392-3696.