For a few minutes Tuesday, it looked like the weeks of work by the Cheshire Community Pool Evaluation Committee may have been for naught.
But in the end, the Town Council overwhelmingly voted to send the proposal to spend $3.2 million for a permanent structure over the pool to referendum in November.
The town was forced to explore options for the popular facility after the February blizzard, when the bubble over the pool collapsed for the second time in two years. It was after that that popular opinion swayed toward exploring a more permanent solution to the problem rather than replace the bubble yet again.
The evaluation committee was formed several months ago and have since been investigating how best to deal with the pool, considering several options that included closing it, replacing the bubble or investing in a permanent structure.
The committee voted to send to the council the $3.2 million project that covers the pool with a tension membrane structure, rejecting another proposal for a polycarbonate cover that costs about $2 million more.
It wasn't because he thought the price tag was too high that Councilman James Sima moved to take the item out of the proposed capital budget to be addressed separately. It was because he thought a higher priced solution was more desirable, Sima said.
Sima said he felt the more expensive solution might in the end turn out to be more economical. That's because the tension membrane structure will require more electricity to keep cool in the summer, Sima said, leading to higher utility costs.
When the council was poised to vote on the 27 items listed for the current fiscal year in the five-year capital budget, Sima said he wanted to pull the pool proposal and vote on it separately. The council agreed, and the item was pulled.
Many in the audience were members of the Cheshire Sea Dogs who support the committee-approved solution. Many let out a collective groan when the item was pulled, and a few made comments that they didn't believe what was happening.
But ultimately it was only Sima who voted against sending the item to referendum, assuring it will be on the November ballot.