The assembly appropriated $650,000 for safety repairs at the Mary Siah Recreation Center on Thursday.
It’s the second appropriation this year for a project of over $2 million to improve electrical systems, replace corroded pipes and install seismic bracing on a building that is more than 70 years old and that two borough public works directors have said will wear out within the next five years.
The vote was 8-1 with Assemblyman Aaron Lojewski casting the no vote. He said he thinks former borough Mayor Karl Kassel was right when he proposed tearing down the Mary Siah Recreation Center last year.
The assembly overruled that decision after the plan met with community backlash. Now the panel is funding a list of critical needs outlined in a December 2018 building inspection report.
The project will go out to bid next month, and work is expected to commence early next year, during which the center would be closed for about six months.
Borough Mayor Bryce Ward asked for the repairs at Mary Siah, saying he would close the facility for safety reasons if the assembly refused to make the improvements.
The building was slated to be torn down at least once before, in the 1970s, when Mary Siah, a community activist, petitioned to save the pool. That resulted in a major renovation and building being named after Siah.
The December building condition report by Bettisworth North recommend about $8.4 million worth of work. A new pool was estimated last year to cost about $14.7 million.
In March, the assembly unanimously appropriated $1 million, adding to an earlier $500,000 allocation, for the project, which also involves parking lot improvements to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.