Board optimistic it's only a temporary measure
AMHERST - Jason Blanch woke up Monday morning looking for something to do with his children.
Usually, the family visits the pool at the Cumberland YMCA every Monday afternoon, but with the pool's temporary closure he had to make alternate arrangements.
"Fortunately, with it being March Break, there was a puppet show at the library," Blanch said. "Not sure what we're going to do on Friday or next Monday."
As scheduled, the pool at the YMCA was closed to users and will remain closed until a partnership agreement is reached between the board of directors and the Town of Amherst and Municipality of Cumberland.
Blanch, whose Facebook group now stands at over 300, remains optimistic, if not hopeful, that a plan will be put in place and the pool reopened in a matter or weeks as opposed to months.
"I think the community has showed it wants and needs a pool," Blanch said. "There were over 200 at last week's meeting and there are more than 300 in the (Facebook) group. I just have this feeling that things are going to work themselves out."
YMCA managing director Trina Clarke shares Blanch's optimism. She said the board of directors knew it was making a tough decision when it originally decided to close the pool. Having to follow through was tough.
"Of course we never wanted to see the day come, but we made the decision with the understanding that we had to be fiscally responsible," Clarke said. "No one wanted to see it close, but it's something we had to do to maintain our other services."
Clarke said the board is awaiting word from the town on its plans and is willing to hold additional meetings with council and staff to work out any details. At the same time, she again applauded the county for its funding commitment, but cautioned it remains contingent on funding from the town and other factors.
"It seems that everyone is supportive of a pool in our community, but some things take time," she said.
Amherst town council was scheduled to meet behind closed doors to discuss the matter on Monday, but there has been no information released from that meeting.
Even though Y officials are waiting on pins and needles from news from town hall, Clarke said they remain optimistic that a partnership will be hammered out and that the closure will be a matter of days or weeks, not months.