At Monday's meeting, the East Brunswick Township Council passed a bond ordinance for about $1.5 million to pay for phase one of a two-part facility improvements plan. Because Crystal Springs is funded by membership fees, the improvements will not have any impact on taxpayers or the municipal budget.
Phase one of the upgrade plans include a new "speed" water slide, reconstruction of the existing water slide tower, and a spray park and sitting area near the kiddie pool.
"I'm very pleased with what I see here and I like how it flows from the slide area for kids to the gazebo," said Councilwoman Denise Contrino during the meeting. "I also like that it's fenced in."
Phase two of the upgrades will include the construction of a new building for offices, locker rooms and bathrooms to replace the existing structure. Township Administrator James White said the work on phase two would most likely begin at the end of the summer 2014 season.
"We're here now to try and get (phase one) in the ground and operating for Memorial Day," White told the council. "If we wait for the designs on the new building structure and bathrooms, then we will never be ready for Memorial Day."
White added that it wasn't feasible for both phases of the project to be completed simultaneously.
In total, both phases of the upgrade plan are expected to cost between $2.5 million to $3 million. The last time the park saw improvements was in 1997.
White noted that with the current interest rates, the time was right to get the ball rolling on the improvements since the debt incurred from going out to bond is not borne by taxpayers, but by users of the facility.
"As with all businesses you understand that not only do you want to keep the customers you have, but to try to increase the customer base, you have to continually do new things," he said.
Also included in the improvements are restoration work to the existing slides, pool resurfacing and safety pad repairs. Mayor David Stahl noted that the pool utility has enough to fund itself as it has over previous decades.
Council Vice President Camille Ferraro added that the improvements to Crystal Springs are a positive for all of East Brunswick and not just the facility itself.
"The resident who complains about Crystal Springs and is not a member has nothing to complain about because it's not their money. It's the user's money," she said. "If anybody gives me feedback on Crystal Springs and why we're doing this, it's for revenue. Revenue helps with property assessments. That's a plus for anybody not paying into the system, let along it's a good thing for people that don't want to play pool guy on the weekends. They want to go somewhere and have somebody else do it for them."