LOWER TOWNSHIP – Lower Township Council approved a $57,500 contract last week to complete a feasibility study for an aquatic center in the township.
The winning bid was submitted by LAN Associates, of Bergen County. There were four other bidders. Township Council authorized a study on a potential aquatic center at its Feb. 6 meeting.
The proposed aquatic center would include a 25-meter swimming pool that meets New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association standards. The facility would not just accommodate local swim teams and competitive meets, but also water-based exercise classes, swimming lessons, lap swimming and open swim.
“It’s something that will serve all ages, abilities and disabilities,” Mayor Erik Simonsen said at the April 12 meeting.
Township Manager Jim Ridgway said that the Cape May County Airport complex is the “top location” under consideration, noting that the complex has necessary space available and has been the focus of recent economic development.
Township officials are requiring that the study consider the cost of construction, and maintenance and operation of the facility, as well as the potential for private and public partnerships to offset those costs.
In addition to the standard pool facilities, council’s request for proposals indicated the township would consider a therapy and physical therapy pool for professional or private sessions to assist residents with any American with Disability Act issues.
The center would include locker rooms for the public and swim teams and there is an option for a separate family locker room. There would also be a shower area. All facilities would meet ADA requirements. The proposed facility would be open year-round.
The building would also have office space and, potentially, a separate room for social events or business meetings.
“Even though Lower Township is the most populated municipality, the township has depended on others when it comes to a pool with comprehensive facilities,” Simonsen said. He said the center would be a dedicated home where the Lower Cape May Regional High School swim team could practice and host swim meets.
“Children could receive swim lessons and learn about water safety, those in need of aquatic therapy could use the therapy pool,” he said.