Oceanport Pool to Open Under YMCA

May 1, 2017
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This summer local residents will be able to join a community pool at Blackberry Bay Park, overseen by the YMCA. Photo by Nikole J. Ghirardi

By Jenna O’Donnell |

OCEANPORT – A popular pool at Blackberry Bay Park will reopen this summer, run by the Community YMCA.

The Oceanport Borough Council voted unanimously during the April 20 council meeting in favor of a resolution awarding a contract to run the pool and snack bar to the YMCA. The pool’s future had previously been uncertain after its longtime operator, the nonprofit Oceanport Lions Swim Club, stepped down from running it in February.

Mayor John “Jay” Coffey said during the meeting that he was looking forward to seeing the pool open under YMCA stewardship.

“It will be a full service offering by the YMCA,” Coffey said during last week’s council meeting. “It’s fantastic.”

The Red Bank-based Community YMCA brings a variety of services including swim lessons to the community pool and snack bar, which has been a fixture in Blackberry Bay Park since the 1970s. The YMCA decided to take over the lease for the pool after several attempts by the borough to find a new operator.

While a spokesman for the Community YMCA said the contract is not yet finalized, YMCA Vice President Barry Martin stood up at the meeting to state that, while there were still a few questions being ironed out in the contract, he was looking forward to the summer.

“I just wanted to thank you, everybody, especially the mayor and council for your confidence in the YMCA,” Martin said. “And we look forward to working through the contracting process.”

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The pool and snack bar, though located on municipal property, are not owned by the borough, according to officials. The concrete pool was financed and built in 1971 by members of the Oceanport Lions Club. For four decades, the Oceanport Lions Swim Club was operated by volunteers as a nonprofit, distinct from the Oceanport Lions Club, under a yearly $1 lease from the borough.

Though the agreement for the pool is not yet finalized, Coffey said several questions had been addressed. The pool is scheduled to open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and Oceanport residents will have priority in enrolling from May 1-14, before membership is opened to other towns. Proposed pricing for the pool has a family seasonal rate of $665, a single person rate at $340 and a daily guest rate of $8, with options for couples, seniors and sitters. The community’s youth Action Camp will be able to continue to use the pool free of charge, Coffey said.

“I hope we have a really successful summer,” Coffey said. “We just have to make sure the softballs don’t land in the pool, OK?”

This article was first published in the April 27-May 4, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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