Somerset Says 'No No to Nana'
A motion to add movable glass "nana" walls to enclose the pavilion of the new Somerset pool house failed to pass in Tuesday's council meeting.
No glass “nana” walls will be enclosing the open-air pool house pavilion of the recently renovated Somerset Town Pool any time soon.
A motion to approve the construction of floor-to-ceiling movable glass walls to enclose the pool house pavilion for use in colder weather failed to pass in the Town of Somerset Council on Tuesday night.
The motion did not receive approval from a majority of the council members, Mayor Jeffrey Slavin said.
The addition of the nana walls would have cost about $160,000, said council member Alan Proctor, who voted in favor of the glass walls.
“[The nana walls are] the final … element to project” of renovating the town pool. Adding the walls would “expand the value of the investment” made by the town for the new pool and pool house, Proctor said.
The pool house cost about $3 million, although original estimates were higher. The sparkling new pool facility will help raise real estate values in the area, Proctor has been told by a real estate broker.
The price of the nana walls is “not a small amount of money, but as a community, it’s the kind of thing that if we wanted to do we could do,” he added.
And, the pool is not just a place for swimming—it’s a place where people of all ages can come together and enjoy a community resource with others of the community. Adding the walls would extend the usefulness of the pool facility as a community-gathering place, Proctor said.
But many of the Somerset residents who came to the meeting did not agree that the town could afford to add nana walls to what some considered a pricey project for an economic downturn.
Before council members had even begun to discuss the nana walls on Tuesday night, at least a dozen residents held up signs saying “No No to Nana” and “I’m a fiscal conservative,” in clear but quiet protest.
“I felt that the walls … [were] a luxury we cannot afford right now,” said long-time Somerset resident Lucy Freeman, who printed up the signs and passed them out to anti-nana residents at the meeting.
Council member Marnie Shaul agreed with the sign-holders.
“The town is facing some substantial bills this year,” she said.
“We’re not going to be adding to our town’s reserves for the next few years.”
“Our operating budget is very lean,” and there will be higher maintenance costs for the renovated pool and pool house, she added.
“We’re not in a position to borrow any more money if an emergency comes up. … I don’t think it’s fiscally responsible at this time to take on any more fiscal expenditures at this site,” she said.
“Right now, we can’t afford to do [any renovations] at the town hall, either,” she added.
And, “personally, I have not heard widespread support for the Nana wall,” Shaul said.
Council member Cathy Pickar concurred.
“I think this nana wall would be wonderful to have,” she said.
But after considering the cost of the walls and the money in the town’s reserves, Pickar could not see the nana walls as something that the town could afford.
Pickar and Shaul voted against adding nana walls to the pool house, while Procter and council member Barbara Zeughauser voted in favor of the walls. Council member William Farley abstained from voting, and Mayor Slavin ruled that the “motion [to add nana walls to the pool house] failed for lack of majority.”
It was not the clear victory that Freeman and other “No No to Nana” sign-holders would have liked.