But that's all about to change, because the township began taking applications last week for membership to the brand new municipal pool complex that is scheduled to be open in mid-June.
The rates will be low for residents who register by May 15.
Last week, North Bergen Parks and Recreation Commissioner Allen Pascual and his family became the first registrants for the pool complex.
"We're extremely excited to be the first to register," Pascual said, as he registered with wife, Paula, and their son Evan, 5, and daughter Mistral, 2.
Township officials had to ensure they had a membership rate package before they could start signing people up for the pool, which is being built off Tonnelle Avenue at 91st Street.
It was finally decided that the early-registration rates should be as follows:
· $175 for an individual membership for anyone between the ages of 13 and 61.
· $300 for a household of two.
· $350 for a household of three.
· $375 for a household of four (with $25 for any additional child after that).
· $100 for an individual membership for a senior citizen.
After May 15, the prices go up considerably, to $200 for an individual membership, $400 for a household of three, and $430 for a household of four.
The rates were posted on the township's Web site, www.northbergen.org, and sent out in a promotional flier to all residents last week.
For now, registration is only open to township residents.
"We're trying to get as many early memberships as possible," Pascual said. "We don't want to be inundated with registrations when the pool opens. We want to have a constant steady flow."
Pascual said that since the registrations began last week, there have been about 20 people to sign up for memberships.
"It's a matter of just getting the word out," Pascual said.
Pascual said that Township Administrator Chris Pianese took many factors into consideration when coming up with the membership rates.
"We looked at what people were paying for our pool before it closed three years ago, then looked at what our residents were paying at Palisades Park and Secaucus," Pascual said. "We've decided that our residents will be paying less than what they paid in the other towns, but more than what they paid the last time we had a pool. But our pool will be state-of-the-art, unmatched by any other. It will be spectacular."
The new complex, which should be completed by Memorial Day, will feature a full-sized recreation pool, a competition pool, a swimming pool specifically for smaller children, a spray park, a picnic area and concession stand, as well as basketball and volleyball courts.
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco was pleased to see that the registrations had begun.
"We had hoped to replace the old pool as quickly as possible and it's unfortunate that it took three years," Sacco said. "But we're very proud of all the people who pulled together to see this happen. It's a great relief knowing that we'll have our own pool this summer."
Sacco also applauded the pool's rates.
"I believe the rates are very fair and I think our residents are really going to enjoy it," Sacco said.
Pascual said that the township has hired pool manager Brian Bonacci, a teacher at North Bergen High School who has experience in running municipal pools, having run the pool in Ridgefield for many years.
Bonacci is currently preparing for the summer by training potential lifeguards at the old APA Trucking swimming complex, currently operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology.
"We made an announcement at the high school that we were looking for lifeguards and we had about 50 kids sign up," Pascual said. "So the classes to train our lifeguards have already started and we should be in good shape."
Pascual said that the township is planning an open house at the pool complex in May that will enable residents to see how the pool will look when it opens in June.
"We're moving right along," Pascual said. "We were lucky to have a mild winter, so the construction will be completed on time."
Phone number and info A phone number has been established exclusively for pool-related business and registration. Residents are asked to call (201) 861-1099, which will be the number for the pool throughout the summer.
Right now, the registration is taking place at the township's Recreation Center, located at 6300 Meadowview Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Proof of identity and two proofs of residency are required. Birth certificates are required to register children. Cash and personal checks are not accepted as payment. The payment must be made by money order, cashier's check, certified check or credit card.
A family member must be present to process the registration because a photo ID is required.
"From July 1 through Labor Day, we'll be open every day. When we started the planning for this, a lot of heads came together, and now it's great to finally see it become a reality," Pascual said.
Sacco said that in the past, there were many residents who didn't know the township had a municipal swimming pool.
"This time, we're making everyone aware," Sacco said.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org