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City pool adds aerobics, welcomes more visitors

VERGENNES — Vergennes has broadened the visitor base for the city pool to allow anyone who lives in Addison County to purchase a season pass, City Manager Dan Hofman told the Vergennes City Council last week.
Previously sales of season passes were limited to residents of Vergennes or the four other towns of the Addison Northwest School District. Day passes are still not being sold.
The cost for an individual pass for a non-resident is $97.50, while family passes sell for $195. Comparable in-city prices are $75 and $150, respectively.
Those season passes include a new offering, water aerobics classes. Those interested in just the aerobics classes may sign up for those separately at $40 for residents and $50 for non-residents. Sign-ups may be completed at Vergennes.org under the Recreation tab by clicking on “City Pool.” City officials will make accommodations for those who cannot afford full freight. 
Residents and non-residents alike are required to honor COVID-19 social distancing and other guidelines, and they must sign up in advance for 90-minute blocks of time, according to city officials. 
Hofman told the council last week these new wrinkles represent Phase II of the pool’s opening for the summer, and that a Phase III is possible if all goes well. 
Because of limitations on pool visitation imposed by pandemic guidelines, Hofman added the pool, unlike past summers, is still short of meeting its revenue target. He told the council the current shortfall projects to around $14,000, which he has said in the past could be backfilled from the city’s Water Tower of Watershed funds. 
In the meantime, he hopes Phase II adjustments will close the gap.
“Hopefully this will allow for more revenue streams,” Hofman said.
As well as dealing with police oversight issues, reaching a deal with Northlands Job Corps to pay for city police services and appointing a new city clerk last week (see stories in the July 16 edition), the Vergennes City Council on July 14 also:
•  Heard from Hofman and Public Works Director Jim Larrow that the retaining wall to which docks are attached on the west side of Otter Creek are on the verge of failure. “We have to replace the entire structure,” Larrow said. 
Hofman speculated the cost could reach into six figures and said he would get an estimate as quickly as possible. He added it might be time to start charging boat owners for use of the docks, even if it meant investing in improved amenities.
“At the end of the day it’s going to be a grant or a loan” to fund replacing the wall, he said.
•  Discussed a request by the Vergennes City Band and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra to play on the city green. Councilors said they were in favor of the idea, but did not have enough information to make a decision. They said smaller subsets of those ensembles might be able to play safely on the bandstand or in the park, and they would take up the issue on July 28.
•  Agreed to allow at least three city shops — Provisionary, Malabar and Blue Lily Clothing Co. — to close off half of South Maple Street between Main and School streets for street sales on the weekend of Aug. 1 and 2.
•  Reappointed Shannon Haggett, Cheryl Brinkman and Carrie Macfarlane to the Vergennes Planning Commission. 

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