Trumbull survey renews interest in addressing the Hillcrest pool

The Trumbull Aquatics Facilities Committee is looking into the feasibility of constructing a new pool that would be nearly twice the size of the pool at Hillcrest Middle School.
The Trumbull Aquatics Facilities Committee is looking into the feasibility of constructing a new pool that would be nearly twice the size of the pool at Hillcrest Middle School.Donald Eng

TRUMBULL — Residents want something to be done about the Hillcrest Middle School pool, based on early results from a parks and recreation survey.

It’s just one of the highlights so far in the ongoing survey to help gauge the department’s offerings and future approach.

On Oct. 18, the parks and rec department sent a survey out the to the 7,000 residents on its email list asking them what department programs, classes and activities they’ve used in the past, and what kind of offerings they’d like to see in the future. The survey was also available through the department’s social media pages.

“In light of COVID, our department has had to take a little bit of a backseat with our programming,” said Noreen Wilpiszeski, the department’s recreation program manager. She said the hope is for the department’s offering to return to something approaching normal by spring.

However, Wilpiszeski said, they wanted to get a better sense of what programs people liked best, what they wanted to see more of, and any new ideas they might have.

As of Friday, she said, the town has received 1,200 responses, and many of them were interested in adding more programs for adults, and more multi-generational programming that whole families could enjoy.

She also said that roughly 70 percent of those who had answered the survey so far had participated in at least one of the town’s aquatics programs, so that seems to be a priority as well. To that end, Wilpiszeski said there remains a lot of concern about what’s happening with the Hillcrest pool.

The pool was shut down for repairs in July — one of many times the pool, which is more than 50 years old, has been shut down over the years. The closings have forced swimmers to use other local facilities, which affected training for swim teams that use the pool.

The town’s Aquatic’s Facilities Committee has discussed plans to build a new pool, but various factors, including the pandemic, put those plans on hold.

The survey has made it clear, though that residents want something done about this situation, Wilpiszeski said. She said many people have indicated they want the town “to either fix Hillcrest or find another solution.”

Longtime Trumbull resident Kristin Frank, 46, said doing something about the pool situation is certainly top of mind for her. “That’s my main concern,” she said. “I think the town needs to move forward with building an aquatics complex.”

Over, Frank said, she supports the survey. “I think it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s certain timely. And I think the pool needs to be at the top of the list.”

Wilpiszeski said the survey will remain open until at least the end of October. After that, she said, “we’ll evaluate the data and figure out what we’re going to be offering.”