Durham council axes $270,000 request for UNH pool
The money was included by Durham Administrator Todd Selig as an annual allocation to help pay to preserve the historic University of New Hampshire outdoor pool, which is primarily used by town residents and since 1938 has served as an important community gathering space.
Resident Kenny Rotner is a member of the Friends of the UNH Outdoor Pool, a group that formed to push to preserve the pool, but Rotner said he could not see the town budgeting that kind of money to spend on the pool.
Under a 2006 contract with the town, the university is required to give the town a one-year notice if they intend to close the pool, but it can be closed with less notice if required by order of state Department of Environmental Services.
"The issue that seems to keep coming up about liability and risk has something of a hollow ring to it when there are other issues that have in campus life risks and liability and they don't seem to be such a source of contention, and there are many of them," she said.
"I think there is more likelihood of a UNH student drowning in their own vomit while drunk than drowning in that pool," councilor Julian Smith said.
Resident and UNH history professor Julia Rodriguez said she and about 10 colleagues sent a letter to the university asking the administration to preserve the pool on historic preservation grounds.
She and others suggested the town conduct its own engineering review of the pool and perhaps work on a proposal and budget to take ownership of it, or at least manage it for the summer until a long-term plan is determined.
Resident Cathy Leach said she would encourage residents to think about what a new pool could do for the community, including offering a bigger apron, fun elements for children, better changing areas and cleaner bathrooms.
The town council will take up the issue of the pool again following a Nov. 21 meeting of the town/gown committee currently waiting for design plans and pricing from the university for different alternatives for the outdoor pool.
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