First Selectman Jeff Manville announced that on January 23, 2020 the Southbury Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution authorizing him to execute an Option to Purchase Agreement between the Town of Southbury and the owners of the Edgewood Bath and Tennis Club (“Edgewood”). Per the agreement, the Town will pay a $3,000 non-refundable fee to the owners of Edgewood to secure an option to purchase their entire facility, including land and equipment, for a price of $2,000,000. The town has until July 31, 2020, to exercise this option. Final approval of the acquisition would be subject to a Town Meeting or Referendum.
The Edgewood facility is located at 100 North Benson Road in Middlebury, just a few minutes from exit 16 off I-84. It is across the street from Region 15’s Longmeadow Elementary School, which serves students from Southbury and Middlebury.
An acquisition of Edgewood would include the following:
- 10.51 Acres of Land – Commercially Zoned
- An Outdoor, 25 Yard Heated Swimming Pool
- A Zero Depth Entry, Wheelchair Accessible Splash Pad, and Water Features
- Six Competition Grade, Deco Turf Tennis Courts
- Four Newly Installed Paddle or Pickle Ball Courts
- A Regulation Outdoor Basketball Court
- Beach Volleyball Space
- Children’s Playground Area with Contemporary Apparatus
- Main Building with 5,312 Square Feet of Usable Working and Office Space and an Elevator
- Two Locker Rooms
- Fitness Center with both Cardio and Weightlifting Equipment
- Complete Commercial Kitchen with Snack Bar
- Large Asphalt Parking Lot – 61,600 Square Feet
- A Fully ADA Compliant Facility
There are numerous reasons to justify this purchase from a taxpayer’s perspective:
- The Town Pool at Ballantine Park, after fifty years of service, is at the end of its life. Engineers estimate that it will last for one, maybe two more seasons. Replacement costs for the Ballantine Park Pool are estimated to be $2,900,000 to $4,200,000. The purchase of the entire Edgewood facility for $2,000,000 instead of fixing the Ballantine Pool will save the town between $900,000 and $2,200,000 in capital costs based on a preliminary fiscal analysis.
- Note the estimated costs to replace the current Town Pool would not bring the Ballantine Pool facility into ADA compliance. Doing so would increase costs substantially, but the Town has not received a reliable estimate at this time. The Edgewood facility, including the pool and main building, is already ADA compliant.
- The Edgewood Pool is larger, with more swimming lanes in comparison to the more expensive replacement pool proposed for Ballantine.
- Renovations to the existing Town Pool could leave the Town without a pool for at least a full summer season. As a "turnkey" facility, the acquisition of the Edgewood Pool would not entail any construction.
- The existing Tennis Courts at Pomperaug High School are also nearing the end of their useful life. Region 15 has estimated a replacement cost at $1,000,000. The tennis courts at Edgewood, which are in excellent condition, would be a great way to replace the aged High School courts at no additional cost if we acquire Edgewood for its pool. Note that the High School is currently using the Edgewood tennis courts for this purpose.
- The Edgewood site is large enough and is in a location that could be suitable for a Regional Community Center or similar YMCA-like facility in the future. One of the historical obstacles to the YMCA's interest in Southbury has been the lack of an appropriate location with a sufficient lot size for construction. YMCA officials have often cited the need for at least 10 acres. There is consensus among the Board and the First Selectman, that this acquisition could provide options for future review, discussion, and consideration for a community center.
- Overall, the Edgewood facility appears to be in excellent condition and would offer the Town a “turnkey” opportunity. Of course, an engineering and structural inspection will be completed before a purchase decision is finalized, but it appears, at this time, that significant construction, renovation, design, or furnishing expenses will not be necessary.
- The Edgewood site offers significant opportunities for future growth. For example:
- The swimming pool and tennis courts could be enclosed for year-round use.
- The existing building could be expanded to house a full-size gymnasium.
- There may be enough open space to build a multi-purpose athletic field on the site.
- There is adjacent land available for purchase on the South border of the Edgewood site.
First Selectman Manville said, “I believe this acquisition could offer a viable, fiscally responsible solution to the impending and costly replacement of our existing Town Pool at Ballantine Park, while providing the long-term potential for additional expansion, including a year-round Community Center. The opportunity to explore this acquisition required prompt action, and I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Board of Selectmen for their unanimous support and encouragement to proceed. We will continue to communicate about this process with our residents in collaboration with the Board of Finance and other Town Departments and Committees as our analysis moves forward.”
First Selectman Manville has also announced that he will immediately form an ad hoc committee to study the implications of this acquisition and make a purchase recommendation to the Town before the option expiration date on July 31, 2020. He went on to say that if this acquisition were to take place, it would not take effect until after Edgewood completed its 2020 operating season.
Edgewood has been in operation continuously since 2010. The Edgewood property has been on the market since September 19, 2018. The current asking price is $2,200,000.