Opinion: Town Pool an “Equalizer For our Community”

April 7, 2022 Submitted by Resident Members of the Friends of the South Shore Country Club, Patricia McDonald, Peter F. Smith & Patricia Krumholtz

Thank you to our concerned citizens and engaged abutters for highlighting the community conversation about the proposed Town Pool at the South Shore Country Club. We’d like to provide some additional information in response to questions and concerns about this project.

The original Town pool was built in the 1950s and upgraded in the 1980s.  It was permitted as a seasonal facility. The Town and SSCC have worked diligently to repair and maintain the pool, enjoying many years of safe operation.  It was closed in the fall of 2019 due to structural weaknesses, having reached the end of its useful life.

The Town began exploring replacement options in 2016.  Many options were considered. The original design called for a much larger indoor/outdoor pool facility at a much higher cost.  With input from many stakeholders, the best path forward was determined to be rebuilding what is currently permitted (a seasonal pool) with the ability to add a bubble at a future date.

The 2020 Community Preservation grant – supported by the Advisory Committee and Select Board and authorized by Town Meeting - directed the South Shore Country Club to design a facility with the necessary infrastructure to support year-round usage.

The Project:  
The new facility includes a 70’ by 36’ zero depth entry pool with a full water depth of 3 feet, 6 inches, a 25-yard competition-sized lap pool (70’ by 50’) with 7 lanes (one of which is handicap accessible) that accommodates 382 people, and a bathhouse. The bathhouse is designed for year-round usage and meets state and local building code requirements including ADA requirements and the number of restrooms required based on bathing load.  The Energy Action Committee has been involved in the planning of this facility.

The pool is being designed to accommodate a bubble membrane and other equipment required for year-round operation in the event the Town decides to move in that direction in the future.

This project has the unanimous support of the Country Club Management Committee (CCMC), Select Board and Advisory.

Year-Round Usage:
The pool is currently permitted as a seasonal facility. Year-round operation would require budgetary approval from a future Town Meeting and a change to the existing permit, which would require review and approval from the Planning Board.  By law, the Planning Board must notify abutters of any hearings related to a permit change. Hearings are open to the public.

Cost and Financing:
Based on the design, the new pool is estimated to cost $8 million. The project has been professionally cost-estimated by our team of professionals and is in line with other comparable projects. The re-purposing of the existing pool site will be paid for by the Country Club Enterprise Fund separately and is not a part of project costs under discussion.

Subject to voter approval, the pool will be paid for in two ways; 1) $550,000 in Community Preservation funding and 2) A debt exclusion for the balance of the project cost. This approach reserves other Town resources for education, public safety, and other municipal services.

According to the Town’s financial planning model, the tax impact of an $8 million debt exclusion on the average assessed value home ($703,600) is $46 each year for 20 years.

This summer seasonal pool will have a similar budgetary profile as the former pool facility with expanded opportunities for revenue due to capacity.

The town pool has always been an equalizer for our community used by hundreds of kids and adults annually. To design the facility without the possibility of year-round use was not an option. Once the pool is up and running, the Town will consider whether to seek the necessary approvals for year-round operation and the various operating models for doing so.

A redesign or delay in moving this project forward means more time the Town pool remains closed and unavailable to the Hingham community. Inaction at this point puts the Town at risk for a higher project cost due to rising construction costs and interest rates.


Resident Members of the Friends of the South Shore Country Club
Patricia McDonald
Peter F. Smith
Patricia Krumholtz

3 thoughts on “Opinion: Town Pool an “Equalizer For our Community””

  1. Thank you for highlighting the multi-year, public process that resulted in this flexible, long-term plan to reestablish an important community asset — our town pool. Sometimes it is easy to forget how we arrived at this recommendation, but as a former member of both the Advisory Committee and Select Board, I can attest to the extraordinary number of volunteer hours that have gone into both the development and critical evaluation of this thoughtful proposal as you described in your article. The pool has been an important place for families and adults to gather and to learn to swim for decades. This proposal will allow future generations to have that same opportunity for decades to come. Please vote yes to support the pool at Town Meeting on April 30th and again at the ballot box on May 14th — we need both votes to secure the necessary funding for this infrastructure project.

  2. Thanks for the additional information. Can you please clarify why designing the pool exclusively for seasonal use (vs year-round use) wasn’t an option?


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