(UPDATED) Cheshire Pool Closed - Again - After Bubble Collapses Under Snow

The town's community pool will be closed indefinitely after collapsing under the weight of the weight of more than 26 inches of snow that fell Friday into Saturday.

The February blizzard has many in town digging out and dreaming of warmer weather, but after snow caused the bubble over the Cheshire Community Pool to collapse late Friday, there will be no reprievefor town residents locally.

Friday's snowstorm brought heavy snows and winds that created an uneven drift, Cheshire Town Officials said, bringing down the bubble with a gigantic tear and exposing the inside of the community pool to the elements of the storm. The area is currently cordoned off to prevent visitors from entering the area.

Officials were unable to provide any details on the extent of the damage Saturday morning. Multiple residents stated that the bubble had extensive damage including a tear that measured as much as 40 feet.

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Over the past three years, the bubble has been plagued with issues. Snow collapsed the facility in January 2011 as several storms mounted snow and ice on top and the structure was unable to hold the sheer weight.

Elected officials mulled over whether to replace the facility before ultimately deciding by a 7-2 vote in August 2011 to have the bubble repaired. Tom Ruocco and James Sima voting against the approval which allowed the council agreed to accept just over $284,000 in insurance reimbursements to replace the inflatable bubble that collapsed during a January snow storm

"We made a decent and fair settlement (with the insurance company); we will be made whole," Council Chairman Tim Slocum said in August 2012. "There is no expectation this will happen overnight. It will be the end of November for the completed structure."

In repairing the bubble, the council also voted unanimously to use nearly $127,800 from it's capital, non-recurring account to pay for a new energy efficient blower which inflates the bubble. The funding also covered costs of peripheral items such as a tarp system, snow sensor and utility hook-ups.

But despite reopening last year, the bubble went down again in September during a storm and the snow sensor was unable to detect the quick weight caused by more than two feet of snow overnight. It was repaired and had been functioning without issue until Friday afternoon.

There has been no indication by officials Saturday as to whether the bubble is repairable or a new bubble would be necessary.

Should the town look to repair the bubble or with the constant issues in recent years, is it now time to go in a new direction? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Editor's Note:
The start time of the article, 1:26 p.m., was changed to allow it to hit the morning newsletters.

KMalone February 09, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Voters voted against the $10 increase to enclose it and make a superb facility out of it. We live at that pool. Our family averages 3 hours a night there. We are full-paid members, and the swim team that my kids are on pays to use it. Last Saturday when I was sitting there it was being used by a scuba training class, the high school boys swim team, a Zumba class of enthusiastic ladies, adults in lap lanes, swim lessons for toddlers and their doting parents, and they were setting up for birthday parties. It was a superb cross-section of Cheshire. I hope they do the right thing this time.
Matt February 09, 2013 at 08:57 PM
The pool has been more popular than ever. It is a great facility that deserves community support. A more permanent structure more reliable option consideration. Do not give up on the pool it is a important part of this town.
Phil Brewer, MD February 09, 2013 at 09:15 PM
The last repair was covered by insurance and that will be the case again. If we don't repair it then we lose our investment in the upgraded heating system.
PR February 09, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Build permanent roof structure! Pool is a tremendous asset to the town! Do it right once and for all!
Terry Terzakis February 09, 2013 at 09:34 PM
When will the town learn? This bubble does not work. Now my kids have to find swim lessons somewhere else - again.
DONATO FRAIOLI February 09, 2013 at 11:02 PM
The first structure lasted 10 years and withstood 10 years of high winds and heavy snow falls, other then the one that hit it when it was 10 years old (and the failure was not the fault of the 1st manufacturers materials or workmanship). the 1st structure provided Cheshire a failure free structure for the life of its warranty. Now I ask, was it a good decision to award the replacement contract to a company that can't match the proven history of the first manufacturer who is in business for over 50 years and is the pioneer in the air structure industry. This replacement company has less then 7 years of manufacturing experience a performance history of less then the warranty of the replacement structure. Why should you expect the structures life will meet the life term of the warranty? Why should you believe the structure can withstand the code required wind and snow loading?
Dino February 09, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Cheshire needs to keep its pool. It is an asset for the town and all pay for it as we do for other assets in this town. A better solution though has to be found. This will happen again. If we do it right will enjoy it for years to come.
cguetens February 09, 2013 at 11:59 PM
How much do people pay per month for a gym membership? Your cup of coffee at d and d, and this town won't pay an extra 10 dollars per year on taxes to enclose it???? Wake up Cheshire, there are so many lessons that keep our kids safe from drowning, lap and aerobic swimming for everyone including numerous senior citizens. This pool is an assest to our community and property values. Step up Cheshire, fix it right this time, and enclose the pool.
Christine February 10, 2013 at 02:18 AM
It is time for the pool to have a permanent cover. Enough money has been wasted on the bubble. It is very noisey when you are in the pool because of the blower for the bubble. There is also still an issue with the humidity.
Kathy February 10, 2013 at 04:07 AM
I'm so tired of the negativity surrounding this pool. It's a great facility used by all ages from infants to seniors, athletes to the disabled, fitness enthusiasts to birthday party participants. I find that people who trash it have never set foot in the building. This was a record breaking storm. It's eleven pm and my road hasn't been plowed. This has never happened in the 27 years I have lived here. Thats how bad this storm was. Give the pool a break! Build a permanent structure or an adjacent 25 yard pool and use the 50 meter pool as a summer facility.
Frettbird February 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM
I've been paying property taxes of 7 grand a year for the past 7 years in Cheshire, and I just heard there is a pool here. It's covered with a tarp. The tarp is held up by a jet engine blower which pressurizes the tarp into a bubble. Without warning, and beyond foresight, the tarp has fallen a few times, much like my bubble shed implodes when we get 2 feet of snow. If you asked me 7 years ago, I could have told you how to prevent the tarp falling into the jet engine pool: Using a garden rake, push up the tarp ceiling, and the snow will fall and slide down the bubble. I think Hines Hardware has the rakes with the long handles. So...what do you have to do to be invited into this pool? Does it look weird if you are a middle aged single man with a rubber duck life preserver and a beach towel that says 'property of holiday inn'? I'll just stay home and take a bath. I have a jet tub. Apparently, my jet is more efficient than your jet.
Cathy Vellucci February 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Gee, what a surprise that the bubble collapsed. We should have built a permanent structure to begin with, and the Town Council should do it this time. End this debacle once and for all. But hey, what would we have to talk about if the pool issue was resolved once and for all? Oh yeah, there's till the continuing erosion of small businesses in Cheshire. Grand Apizza is the latest closing. I loved that place!
Jim Gone February 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM
The pool center was filled with problems in the first 7 years, mold, failing concrete, poor ventilation! Many times it was shut down for days or weeks at a time o solve th issues. Then it collapsed 3 times in 2 years. I ask, was it a good decision to build this facility? if you wanted the center build it too last, not on the cheap as Cheshire keeps doing. Only the cheap has been anything but cheap for the residents.
ronald robbins February 10, 2013 at 02:18 PM
if you cant afford it dont do it , if you can then do it right !
Jim K February 11, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Fill it in and make a parking lot. If a debacle this bad occurred in the private sector, many town officials would be looking for work.
cheshireResident February 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Either build a permanent structure OR make it a summer only pool. The bubble has to go!
John February 11, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Why do we have a pool? Because it is a service that many in our community enjoy and use on a daily basis. Why is it that every other service in the town receives the attention and funding it deserves and people can't get over the fact that running the pool costs them next to nothing out of their pockets. People, really, do we need to go through this again and complain about something that really has no impact directly on your wallet. True, building a permanent structure will cost the town money, but so does every other service. I haven't been to the library in years, but do I complain incessantly about paying for it to be up and running. No, I gladly pay my taxes so that others who need/use the service have it available to them. This is part of living in a community. Paying for services that improve our life and bring happiness and well-being.
Another John February 11, 2013 at 03:45 PM
The pool at Cheshire is second to none. It's size is ideal as a large venue to support year-round competitive swimming, as well as providing several other uses for all of her citizens. Seems odd that the town went high-end on the pool and skimped on its enclosure. Removing the enclosure will leave the pool vacant for most of the year. I think the best way to maximize the use of this town asset is to build a permanent enclosure and be done with it. Think about it. Long ago, if a permanent enclosure had been erected over the pool instead of this "cost-saving" bubble idea, we would not even be having this discussion today.
Swimming in Fudge February 12, 2013 at 01:06 AM
I agree with the pool is a great asset to the town. It is mind boggling that people think it is supposed to not only not have any operating cost to the town, but that it is supposed to even generate income for the town?!? Does the library, senior center, parks and rec department etc. generate income for the town? Lunacy! However, it is also lunacy now for people to be complaining the bubble burst again, when the town shot down the idea of a beautiful permanent structure a few referendums ago. The beautiful glass enclosed building would have raised taxes about $10 per person in town and we would have had an awesome facility. Instead the town went on the "cheap" and we have had to bursted bubbles in two years! Good planning. By the way, the pool would have cost a fourth of what the new "poop plant" is going to cost. So the moral to the story is that in Cheshire our poop is four times more important than our pool and still people wonder why the pool has had problems over the years!
Cathy Vellucci February 12, 2013 at 02:11 AM
I agree with both Johns, Kathy, Christine and others that believe the town should make a permanent structure over the pool. Although my kids only occasionally use the pool these days, I would like to know it's always going to be there as a resource. Yes, some taxpayers would be angry if the town built a permanent structure, but it would be a one-time investment. Let's end this continuing struggle with what to do with the pool.
Christopher Pagliaro February 14, 2013 at 03:54 PM
For years, the Milford Y also had a bubble, without incident. The Metrodome in Minneapolis is essentially a bubble, and lasted 30 years, without incident. The Cheshire Community Pool, unfortunately, had had two incidents in two blizzards. A few years ago, we had the option to build a permanent structure. The town managers put forward a solid option. In a town manager system, this is how government is meant to function. Yet, people complained that they didn't have the "democratic option" to choose between the two bids, and nothing at all, and then voted for nothing at all out of spite and principle. That's not how a municipality with a city manager system is meant to function, and in the end, of the small percentage of voters that actually bothered to show up to vote, a slightly large voted wanting a more democratic way. Cheshire, you can't have it both ways, check the town charter. Meanwhile, it's time we built that glass structure. It's energy efficient, and modern. The $350,000 mentioned by Eric, seems like a lot. However, out of a multimillion dollar budget, it is about a third of a percent of the total budget for the town of Cheshire. Yes, many people don't use the pool, but many do. It is an asset to the community. With Eric's logic, we should also close the library, which much of the community doesn't use.. It costs the town $1,500,000/yr. (over 1.5% of the budget). We wouldn't do that. Why would we close another fantastic resource?
Christopher Pagliaro February 14, 2013 at 06:35 PM
We can't continue to let this happen, please sign the petition, and we can stop having these pool bubble collapses once and for all! Join the movement at : http://goo.gl/ELIQt
Betty Pritchard February 14, 2013 at 09:05 PM
When will the citizens of Cheshire have some say in how their money is wasted? We need a permanent pool structure perhaps with sliding doors that can open in the summer. With the change in our weather pattern that bubble will just keep coming down. Stop this craziness. Betty Pritchard
support the y February 15, 2013 at 02:25 AM
uh, why doesn't the ymca take over the pool? then anyone who want's to use it can just join the y, taxpayers don't have to pay, and the y can decide what to do with it and when to open it!
Christopher Pagliaro February 15, 2013 at 02:27 PM
1) The pool isn't for sale, and the Y can't just "take over the pool." 2) Seeing as the pool is about 1% of everyone's total taxes, it's really not the tax burden the vocal minority makes it out to be.
Christopher Pagliaro February 17, 2013 at 05:03 PM
The town council is going to control the weather, now?
Christopher Pagliaro February 18, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Well said, John
Betsy Jasiorkowski February 19, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Hind sight doesn't work unless it helps you make good decisions going forward. In the wake of a difficult economic situation, Cheshire has been making a lot of "penny wise and pound foolish" mistakes in recent years. This is what is making our community less attractive. The pool is a good idea. If it's going to have year round use, do it right with a proven hard structure and state of the art technology! Otherwise, make it a summer pool only. But whatever we do, DO IT RIGHT. This doesn't have to be an emotional decision. In fact, none of the decisions on how we spend our tax money to improve or upgrade our community should be emotional. Betsy Jasiorkowski
BC February 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Whom has some real stats on what is the total operating cost? What is the total income that actually goes back to the town? How many residents use this money pit and why do we have to pay a ridiculous membership to use it. Putting a hard structure over this pool would be wrong. For me I'd like to be able to feel the heat from sun and a nice breeze. Covering is no a option. Summer only this no new cover.
Tatyana March 17, 2013 at 04:38 AM
We are using the pool a lot, our family almost live there. My questions are: 1. Why they are asking for 7 millions for the permanent structure? Did anyone asked for the tender? I think the price is ridiculous. 7 mlns for the pool cover??? 2. How many of the Cheshire residents came to vote for the pool coverage? I saw only few elderly people there and no explanation of the price to anyone at all... 3. Did anyone think about using the simple laws of physics during the winter storms? The pool needs a stronger structure and a system to control outside air pressure. Why not to use the other pools with bubbles experience? Feel that town authorities' decisions are very poor in that case.


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