‘An Amazing Sense of Community’: High Praise for Waveny Pool from Councilman

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Though some passersby in Waveny may view the pool there as plain concrete and water, it’s a singular place—especially for newer residents—where New Canaanites (and others) gather with their families and connect with each other during the warmer months, a member of the Town Council said Wednesday.

Christa Kenin of the Town Council also serves on the Lifestyle Committee of Waveny Pool. Credit: Michael Dinan

Christa Kenin of the Town Council also serves on the Lifestyle Committee of Waveny Pool. Credit: Michael Dinan

The Waveny Pool is “the spoke of the summer community” for many, according to Christa Kenin, a councilman as well as a pool regular who serves on the facility’s newly formed Lifestyle Committee.

“I mean it is the kind of place where you will go and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you and quickly learn that they are your neighbor down the street,” Kenin said during the legislative group’s regular meeting, held in the Town Meeting Room. “Children learn how to swim there. People literally borrow each other’s Johnson & Johnson ‘no tear’ shampoo to wash their kids down at the end of the day because they forgot their bottle. It is such an amazing sense of community.”

Entry into New Canaan Community Foundation's first-ever "I [Heart] New Canaan" photo contest. Credit: Chandler Crosby

Entry into New Canaan Community Foundation’s first-ever “I [Heart] New Canaan” photo contest. Credit: Chandler Crosby

The comments came as the Town Council heard a request from Recreation Director Steve Benko for the self-sustaining Waveny Pool to spend about $131,500 out of its own reserve funds to purchase and install heaters in the main and kiddie pools there. (The council approved that expenditure 10-0.)

The heaters are sorely needed—Benko said that in May and even into June, the water temperature after a cool night may dip down to about 66 degrees (it rebounds to about 80 degrees for the balance of the summer).

Councilmen asked Benko how much money is in the pool’s reserves ($246,000 and then another $66,000 in a major maintenance fund), what’s the next big project (replacing the plaster lining), how much that costs ($140,000), how the reserve fund is replenished (through fees),

Town Council Vice Chairman Steve Karl asked whether Benko—particularly now that the pool will be heated—had investigated a nighttime cover for it.

Benko responded that the he’s actively studying the possibilities, and noted that the Waveny Pool is so large it would require 11 panels. They would save about 56 percent energy, though the covers would increase staffing needs—they take about 45 minutes to install in the evenings and then a half-hour to remove—and also a large space would be needed to store them, Benko said.

As a member of the pool’s Lifestyle Committee, Kenin said efforts have been made “to improve the whole experience of the pool—both the physical space and the pool itself and the locker rooms and also make it more of a social thing for our residents.”

“So I just think it is really important to remember that it is not just a generic facility, and really brings a lot of joy to a lot of people and the feedback that I have been getting is just overwhelming enthusiasm,” she said. “People are saying, ‘Oh, I will definitely do a family pass if it’s heated.’ ”

Pool passes are on sale now. Here’s the new slate of fees, approved Tuesday by the Board of Selectmen:

Waveny Pool Rates, 2016

 2015 rate2016 rate
Family Pass$425$450 (guest fees: $5 child, $10 adult)
Individual Pass$250$260 (guest fees: $10 child, $15 adult)
Limited Use Pass$175 plus $10 per visit$180 plus $10 per visit
Senior Citizen$70$70 (guest fees: $5 child, $10 adult)
Nanny Pass$125$125 (no guests permitted)
Guest Fee: Children (17 & u)$10varies depending on anchor pass
Guest Fee: Adult$15varies depending on anchor pass
Non-resident Pass$1,000 (limited to 100 total)$1,150 (limited to 100 total)
The Park & Recreation Commission endorsed these proposed fees at its Feb. 10, 2016 meeting. The Board of Selectmen approved them at its Feb. 24, 2016 meeting.

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