CHESTER – The Wason Pond Commission is looking at asking voters to approve a rehabilitation of the bathhouse at the Wason Pond Conservation and Recreation Area, something that has long been unusable, despite its value to recreational activities at the beach.
The Commission is comprised of members of the recreation and conservation commissions, the budget committee, board of selectmen and a member at large. Acting chair Patrick Connelly presented the group’s proposed budget figures as well as the potential bathhouse project to the board of selectmen at their Thursday, Feb. 6 meeting.
According to Connelly, the commission had recently reviewed the project and costs.
While he initially presented a project scope that would simply make the structure usable as a changing area, selectmen argued that if the town were going to put up the money, they may as well fix the plumbing as well.
Connelly gave a $10,000 figure to fix the windows, doors, ceiling, and flooring, bring electricity back and paint the structure. That part of the project would create a place so that summer recreation program participants would not have to change clothes in tents, explained Connelly.
Recreation representatives to the commission were not present at last week’s meeting.
The extent of the damaged plumbing is unknown, but an estimate of $8,000 was floated to bring that back online. Several years ago the building was robbed, with its copper pipes stripped.
Selectman Jack Cannon said that while he wasn’t sold on the need for the project, he thinks that if taxpayers were going to pick up the tab, it made sense to fix the entire structure.
“It’s a significant amount of money, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not so much,” said Cannon.
Selectman chair Steph Landau said he favored the project, but added the town should use an insurance payout received after the building was robbed and vandalized. Landau estimated that figure at $4,700, an amount that ultimately lapsed into the general fund when it was determined that it would not be used to fix the structure. Landau said the money should be pulled out of the general fund for the project and the warrant article should announce that.
There was some confusion over which group oversees the bathhouse, as finance manager Joanne Smith said $3,000 was included in the recreation department’s budget as earmarked for the bathhouse. Landau said the $3,000 in question was for a roofing project.
Connelly, along with fellow Wason commissioner Chuck Myette, said they would go back to the recreation commission to discuss the matter and if the two groups agreed on a project scope, they would forward a warrant article for the selectmen’s consideration.