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Vergennes volunteers makeover pool house, skate park

VERGENNES — About 30 volunteers recently gave a major facelift to the city of Vergennes’ pool house and skate park off East Street.
In an effort coordinated by resident and contractor Ian Burkett; planning commission member Tim Cook; Aldermen Mark Koenig, Bill Benton, and David Austin; and Addison Northwest School District board member John Stroup, the pool house received new roofing and a paint job, and a number of improvements were made at the skate park on May 4 and 5.
The skate park work, according to Vergennes Mayor Jeff Fritz included a general cleanup, repairs to the park’s features, and removal of its exterior wall.
Wall removal was a request from the park’s users, Fritz said, one made at a meeting this past fall between students and city council members set up by Vergennes Union High School faculty member Lee Shorey.
“One of the things they expressed was they didn’t like the walls around the skate park, because it sort of made them feel like they were in prison. And those walls came down,” Fritz said. “We listened to them.”
Fritz said he was impressed by the finished product.
“They did an amazing amount of work over at the skate park,” he said. “The turnout was amazing.”
City officials have talked for several years about the need for new pool house roofing, and Fritz praised the finished product of the paint and the roof.
“It was an amazing transformation. I’m really proud. It’s a great expression of what we feel about the Little City, let me tell you,” he said.
Fritz also noted Mark Koenig and other volunteers also touched up the caulking around the edges of the city pool, a task that Koenig has done annually in recent years and that has made a difference. 
“What we’ve found over the past couple years is that involvement has made a significant impact,” Fritz said. “The pool was drained this year and is probably in better condition than it has been in 40 years.”
At Tuesday’s city council meeting Austin praised Cook for his organizational efforts and Burkett for his expertise and hard work, and he also noted many young families and teens supported the effort, citing as an example Tim Cook’s 18-year-old son, Malcolm.
“He dedicated pretty much his whole weekend,” Austin said.
Austin also estimated the value of the volunteer labor and donated materials as between $20,000 and $25,000.
Stroup said he was grateful to businesses who supported the effort: Small City Market donated breakfast and coffee, Shaw’s and the city of Vergennes provided lunch both Saturday and then on Sunday when a smaller crew of volunteers wrapped things up, r.k. Miles donated roofing materials, and Aubuchon Hardware provided paint and painting supplies.
And Stroup said council members deserved a lot of credit, as well as resident volunteers.
“City aldermen put in a lot of work and organizing effort,” he said. “It was a great day and Vergennes is a lot better for it.”

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