15 Sep 2014
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Crystal Springs Upgrades May Not Be Ready for Summer 2014

Upgrades on hold as council debates whether full multi-million dollar plan is necessary.

Crystal Springs Upgrades May Not Be Ready for Summer 2014
A $1.5 million project to improve the Crystal Springs  Family Aquatic Center is on hold after the ordinance for the repairs was tabled at last week's Township Council meeting.

During a public hearing for the $1.5 million ordinance  to pay for phase one of a two-part facility improvements plan, some concerns were raised about the need for some components of the plan.

"I've long been advocating for repairs to the bathrooms," said Councilwoman Nancy Pinkin during last week's meeting. "I have concerns about doing the entire project. I feel some of these items maybe more than we need."

Phase one of the upgrade plans include a new "speed" water slide, reconstruction of the existing water slide tower, and a spray park and sitting area near the kiddie pool. Phase two of the upgrades will include the construction of a new building for offices, locker rooms and bathrooms to replace the existing structure.

In total, both phases of the upgrade plan are expected to cost between $2.5 million to $3 million. Because Crystal Springs is funded by membership fees, the improvements will not have any impact on taxpayers or the municipal budget.

The last time the park saw improvements was in 1997.

Council President James Wendell said he had concerns about overspending on the phase one improvements, but said he would still support the full plan.

Council members Michael Hughes and Denise Contrino also were in favor of implementing both phases of the upgrade proposal, as they felt the improvements were needed to allow Crystal Springs to continue to grow.

"I'm fully in support of this. Crystal Springs is one of the gems of East Brunswick," Contrino said during the meeting. "If we don't keep up on it, it won't continue to be a hotspot and will get old, tiresome and dilapidated."
 
No members of the public spoke about the upgrade plan during the hearing. 

Pinkin said she couldn't support the entire proposal due to other fiscal pressures and said she'd rather see the upgrades stay within reason. Council Vice President Camille Ferraro was not present during the meeting, so without the necessary four votes to move the ordinance forward, the plan was ultimately tabled.

Mayor David Stahl said the delay would cause the township to miss an opportunity to perform the necessary phase one construction work before winter begins, so a different proposal may be presented to the council, but none of the work would be ready for the upcoming season.

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