Community House pool to close at end of August

After more than 90 years, the Moorestown Community House will be closing the pool on Aug. 31.

The Moorestown Community House pool is original to the the community house and has been a source of fun, aerobic enjoyment and community engagement for Moorestown residents since its opening. However, after more than 90 years, the community house will be closing the pool on Aug. 31.

“The pool has served as a gathering place for residents of Moorestown and the surrounding area,” said Executive Director of the Moorestown Community House Caryn Lynch. “By offering a wide array of swim programs, the pool has fulfilled a need in our community and has brought people together.”

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Lynch said the MCH’s decision to close the pool follows “careful analysis” of the community house’s finances. She said it also came as a consideration the YMCA’s decision not to renew their current contract.

“The pool is very expensive to operate on an ongoing basis — in a 90 plus year old building — so we needed to consider not only the short-term feasibility, but also the long-term feasibility,” Lynch said.

The Community House is not township-owned and receives no government funding. As an independent nonprofit organization, MCH relies solely on contributions from the community to remain open.

On a yearly basis, the pool costs approximately $47,000 to operate — the funds for which came from MCH’s operating budget, Lynch said. The pool opened in 1926, and over the years has required capital improvements including new dehumidification systems, pumps, heaters and other improvements including a mural, as well as a new tile floor, benches, windows and exterior doors.

The YMCA started out as a tenant on MCH’s whole lower level until obtaining their own building in 1990. In Sept. 2015, the YMCA returned to MCH to manage the pool and has continued to do so for the past two years.

The YMCA had exclusive use of the pool and programming. Some swim programs they offered over the years include camps, group lessons, morning water walkers and family swim, Lynch said. Several local swim teams also use the pool through the YMCA.

Shaun Elliott, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, said the YMCA’s decision not to renew their contract was based on sustainability. He said the pools approximately $50,000 in annual expenses just became “cost prohibitive” when they are able to serve their members at a nearby pool at the Mt. Laurel YMCA.

Elliott said he sat down with members of the Community House a few weeks ago and explained the YMCA’s decision. He said everyone he spoke with from MCH was very understanding.

“We’ve really enjoyed the long standing collaboration with the Community House,” Elliott said.

Lynch echoed Elliott’s sentiments saying that MCH and the YMCA enjoyed a positive working relationship over the course of their time together. She said without the YMCA’s partnership, however, it’s just not financially feasible to keep the pool open.

With news of the pool’s imminent closing trickling out to the community, the feedback has been sad but supportive, Lynch said.

“The community recognizes that the stand-alone pool market has become very competitive and our pool has unique challenges including its age and size,” Lynch said.

Lynch said MCH shares in the community’s “sense of nostalgia” in regard to the pool. She said over the years, the pool has welcomed a wide array of people from families with small children to senior walking groups and even competitive swim teams.

“The pool offered a gathering place for all ages — a recreational opportunity in the heart of Moorestown,” Lynch said.

At present, MCH is considering all of their options for the space. Lynch said community members proposals and suggestions for the space are welcomed.

For more information on the Moorestown Community House, visit http://thecommunityhouse.com/

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