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June 16. 2013 9:41PM

Making a splash

Grand opening for historic Peterborough community pool


Evan Merwede, 11, of Peterborough stands under a large fountain in Adams Pool's new splash pad on Friday. Meghan Pierce ((MEGAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent))

PETERBOROUGH — The rain stopped and the gray skies gave way to blue in time for the grand reopening of Adams Pool Friday afternoon.

The reopening started with a ribbon cutting ceremony and continued with a community pool party.

The $1.2 million renovation project that was completed this spring ensures the longevity of the 77-year-old pool, town officials said at the ribbon cutting.

"This is something that I have been after for about 20 years, so I'm really excited," said Recreation Committee vice chairman Todd Weeks. "I hope everyone enjoys it."

As part of the project, the concrete gutters were removed and replaced with new stainless steel gutters and the main drain system was taken out and a new one meeting new federal regulations was installed.

The new gutters allow the pool to be six inches deeper, which means that when the Peterborough Wave Club is practicing or holding swim meets at the pool swimmers turning and pushing off in the shallow end will no longer scrape their knees on the bottom of the pool, according to Recreation Department director Jeff King.

The deeper pool as well as a shorter diving board will now allow swimmers to use the diving board again for diving. The town's insurance company prohibited all but feet-first jumps from the diving board for the past few years because of the depth of the pool and the length of the diving board.

The project also included additions such as a pool slide and a splash pad.

A splash pad is a play area where water is sprayed from fountain-like installations. Since the splash pad is designed to have no standing water, it is safe for young children who don't know how to swim.

The original construction of the pool was federally funded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal Works Progress Administration.

"It was essentially a stimulus project to put people back to work during the Great Depression," King said at the ceremony.

The pool first opened on July 4, 1936.

Budget Chairman Gordon Kemp recalled the opening.

"I was here, I don't remember a formal opening, probably because this was a federal government and state project and the town didn't have much to do with it. In fact, a lot of the folks in the town weren't too happy about it and didn't know why we needed it or why we should have it. But I wish they could all be here to today to see what it has become," Kemp said.

Select board chairwoman Barbara Miller said the pool is likely serving its fourth generation of residents this summer.

"They probably knew they were creating more than just a pool. They were creating a social institution that would serve in the center of community life for the residents during the summer months, for generations," Miller said of initiators of the pool back in the 1930s.

King thanked the numerous town board and committee volunteers and town staff who helped the project advance.

Selectman Joe Byk thanked Peterborough-based Torphy Construction for bringing the project in on time and under budget.

"And they're local," Byk said. "What a triple home run that is."

mpierce@newstote.com


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