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Thousands Flock to New Princeton Pool Complex for Grand Opening Weekend

The starfish sprinklers are a popular feature of the kids zero-entry pool. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
More than 2,600 people visited the pool on Memorial Day. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
Trying out the new diving board. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
Sliding feet first. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
The new Community Park Pool Complex opened Saturday. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.

Nearly 6,000 visitors packed the new Community Park Pool Complex over the Memorial Day Weekend to enjoy the new pool that was more than a few years in the making.

“There was lots of discussion about the pool plans, but ultimately, we’re here at this point, where we wanted to be,” Recreation Department Executive Director Ben Stentz told the crowd of several hundred gathered for the ribbon cutting Saturday afternoon.

Stentz thanked the contractors, staff and Princeton Township Engineering Department members who helped keep the project on time despite a tight schedule. He also thanked the Princeton Borough and Township liaisons to the recreation board who were ambassadors for the project, Sue Nemeth and Jo Butler.

“Jo showed up new to the council at just the right time in January of 2011,” Stentz said. “She brought a renewed sense of energy and leadership that was crucial to getting the project passed.”

Construction on the pool complex began in September, but the debate about the plans for the new complex has a much longer history.

Two years ago, it looked like the project with a price tag of more than $6 million might get cut or scaled back. Everyone agreed the original pool, built in 1967, needed to be replaced, but some residents argued that the proposed plans for the new pool destroyed the simple character of the original complex. After lengthy discussion and revisions, a compromise plan was developed that everyone could agree on.

The final product is a pool complex officials hope will last for the next 50 years.

“In 50 years the kids who are here today will be able to tell a new generation of kids they were here when this pool opened,” Stentz told the crowd.

Former recreation directors Don Barr and Jack Roberts were on hand for the celebration.

On Saturday, more than 2,100 people were admitted to the pool, and on Sunday 1,100 people came to the pool, Stentz said. On Memorial Day more than 2,600 people visited the pool complex, which appears to be a new record for pool attendance at Community Park over the last 45 years.

Princeton Borough Mayor Yina Moore and Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner thanks Stentz for overseeing the project.

“Of all the people Ben thanked, he forgot to thank himself and we owe him a big round of applause,” Goerner said.

The pool is located at 380 Witherspoon Street, adjacent to the Princeton Township Municipal Complex. Pool memberships can be purchased at the Princeton Recreation Department offices weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Recreation Department offices will also be open June 2-3, and June 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accept new pool member applications. You can also register for a pool membership online.

An elated Ben Stentz addresses the crowd at the pool ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday. Photo by Krystal Knapp.
Visitors headed to the new pool to beat the heat on Memorial Day. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
A family enjoys the new zero-entry kids pool, which is shaped like a fish. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
The line to try out the new slide. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
A lifeguard watches over swimmers at the new pool. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.
Construction on the new pool began in September. The pool opened on the same date the original pool opened 45 years ago. Photo by Dave Cardaciotto.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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