WATERVILLE — The Harold Alfond Foundation is awarding the city $570,000 to help make improvements to water slides at the Alfond Municipal Pool complex on North Street, City Manager Michael Roy announced Wednesday.

“I think Waterville’s renaissance really started when the Foundation assisted with building a new pool and constructing the adjacent Alfond Youth Center in 1999-2000,” Roy said in a news release.

Alfond Foundation and city reserve funds designated for pool improvements will be used to build a slide feature to replace the existing structure, which has served the city well for nearly 20 years, according to Roy.

Gregory Powell, chairman of the Alfond Foundation’s board of trustees, said the sounds of a Waterville summer would not be complete without the outdoor municipal pool for area children.

“So, with this contribution, the Foundation is delighted to join the city in funding needed repairs for the pool and keeping our kids and the sounds of summer alive and well,” Powell said in the release.

The Alfond Municipal Pool, according to Waterville Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan, is really more a waterpark than just a pool.

“The facility includes two kiddie pools, a spray pad, snack shack, shade structure, and of course the two slides,” Skehan said in the release. “The slide feature makes Waterville’s municipal pool very unique as just one other municipal pool in the state has a similar structure.”

Rebuilding the slide feature will complete the first of two phases planned for renovating the facility, according to Roy and Skehan.

Roy said in a phone interview Wednesday that the Alfond Foundation Grant and city reserve funds will be used only for the first phase of work and the city is hopeful it will raise its share of money for the second phase with a bond issue next year. The city has had some preliminary discussions with the Alfond Foundation for possible funding to help with that second phase, Roy said. The city does not have an estimate for the final cost for that second phase, he added.

Phase II will include work to the main pool, kiddie pools and ancillary structures, which could include the bath house, according to Roy.

“The main pool needs a serious upgrade,” Roy said. “That’s a significant part of the phase two work — is repair to the municipal pool. The kiddie pools — there may be some rearrangement of the design.”

Phase I work will start in mid-August, at the end of the 2018 season, and is expected to be completed before the next season’s opening in June 2019. Officials say they hope to start phase II in August 2019 after the pool closes.

Roy said the city divided the work into two phases to ensure the pool remains open and does not have to close because of the work.

“When it closes in August 2019, we do all the other work in phase II, so when it opens in June 2020, everything’s been fixed,” Roy said.

Roy applied for the Alfond grant in February because an engineering study on the pool area identified some serious problems with the condition of some of the features, he said.

“The slides were the number one worry out of everything there,” he said.

Skehan said the pool is a city-owned facility that helps make Waterville a special place to live, work and play and that the city is grateful for the Harold Alfond Foundation gift.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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