mayor & council
Honorable Jay Coffey
We haven't really had a winter and already thoughts are turning towards summer. In particular, we've been fielding a lot of questions about what is going on with the Oceanport Lions Swim Club located in Blackberry Bay Park. Well, quite frankly, the best I can tell you is that the Borough Council and I are exploring every avenue available to ensure that the swim club is open this summer. Not many people know that the pool facility was financed and built mostly by members of the Oceanport Lions Club in the 1970s so that Oceanport could have its own little chlorinated oasis within Blackberry Bay Park. The facility has been operated by the Oceanport Lions Swim Club (an entity unrelated to the Oceanport Lions Club) since the late 1970s pursuant to a lease agreement with the Borough of Oceanport. Much in the same way that the Borough's youth rec sports programs are run by volunteers, the pool has been run much the same way. Several generations of Oceanport's children have spent their summers — whether as swim club members, swim team participants or as part of Oceanport's summer Action Camp — within the confines of this unique and special reminder of how special small town living can be. This pool has been part and parcel of the fabric of Oceanport for the better part of five decades.
Recently, however, the volunteers who have overseen the operations of the pool on behalf of the Oceanport Lions Swim Club have advised the Borough that it is no longer fiscally feasible for them to continue to maintain and operate the facility and that they were no longer going to do so. In a nutshell, a continuing decline in membership and a concurrent rise in operating costs meant that the pool club is no longer financially self-sufficient. When confronted with this news, we asked ourselves three questions: (1) Does Oceanport need to have a pool? (2) Does Oceanport want to have a pool? (3) Can Oceanport afford to have a pool? While we agreed that no municipality needs a swimming pool, we were united in our belief that Oceanport wants to have a pool. That left us with the task of finding out whether or not we can afford to have a pool. To that end, in February, the Borough Council authorized a Request For Proposals for the operation and maintenance of the Oceanport Pool and Snack Bar. Potential vendors had until March 8, 2017 to submit their proposals.
In the event that no vendors submit proposals or if the proposals are, in the opinion of the Governing Body, inadequate or insufficient, we will explore other alternatives with an eye towards keeping the pool open. But we can't keep the pool open at any cost. Like any other municipal program, the Governing Body will have to weigh the costs and benefits in order to determine if the Borough can take on this task in a fiscally responsible manner. Please attend our Borough Council meetings, watch them live on Facebook, or via replay on YouTube to learn more about this and other issues impacting on our community.
Honorable Jay Coffey
Mayor, Oceanport Borough, NJ