OCEANPORT: The future of the Oceanport Lions Swim Club in Blackberry Bay Park is still up in the air, but it still could return this summer.
Borough Business Administrator Ray Poerio said at the March 16 Oceanport Council meeting the borough issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the pool and there were no responses. Poerio asked the council if they would like to try again and the governing body agreed to do so.
Poerio said that after the bids were due, two groups reached out the borough and said they did not know about the RFP until it was too late and said they would be interested if the council reissued it.
During the meeting, Community YMCA Vice President Barry Martin said that his group would be interested in submitting a bid for the pool. The Community YMCA is based out of Red Bank and features activities, sports, childcare programs,before and after school care, arts enrichment and teen leadership programs.
Mayor Jay Coffey said the pool was built and financed in the 1970s, "mostly" by members of the Oceanport Lions Club, but has been operated by the Oceanport Lions Swim Club, a 501c-3 non-profit which is unrelated to the Oceanport Lions Club. Similarly to the borough's sports programs, the pool has been operated by volunteers.
"Recently, however, the volunteers who have overseen operations of the pool have advised the borough that it is no longer fiscally feasible for them to continue to maintain and operate the facility and that they we were no longer going to do so," Coffey said in latest issue of The Oceanport Bulletin.
He said if no bidders come forward, the council will have to explore other options for keeping the pool open.
"Like any other municipal program, the governing body will have to weigh the costs and benefits in order to determine can take on this task in a fiscally responsible manner," he said.
Coffey said at the March 16 council meeting that only about 40 percent of the people who utilize the pool are from Oceanport; a fact the council have to take under consideration when considering its future in the event that the second RFP goes without any responses.
He added that someone, who has asked to remain anonymous, has stepped forward and agreed to "take care of the shortfall that the volunteers had."