After a number of delays, the long awaited construction on the Overlee Community Association pool and clubhouse (6030 Lee Hwy) has begun. Final permits were obtained just last week, allowing construction to move forward.
The delay in obtaining county permits has been one of the numerous factors contributing to overall project delays, according to Overlee Long Range Planning Committee Chairman Chris Tai. He explained that a project like this is difficult due to squeezing a number of different things onto one compact site.
To those who criticize the length of time the project has taken to get going, Tai suggests remaining focused on forward progress.
“There’s plenty of time later to go back and figure out what could have been done differently,” Tai said. “But for now, we’re focused on getting the pool open and minimizing the disruption to members and the community in general.”
Demolition of the pool and the late 19th centruy clubhouse began in January and recently finished. Currently, crews at the site have begun construction on the new pool, deck and surrounding facilites.
The plan is to open different sections of the club in phases as they’re completed. Safety barriers will surround areas that are still under construction. The goal is to get the bath house and lap pool opened first, so swimmers can get back in the water as soon as possible. At this point, the best estimate for opening the main pool and surrounding deck is early June. The clubhouse will open last, possibly as soon as mid-July.
Tai says the lack of a clubhouse for at least part of the season should come as no surprise to members.
“We told all our members from day one that they shouldn’t anticipate much use of the clubhouse this coming summer,” Tai said. “The priority is to get the main pool up and running as soon as possible.”
Some members have expressed dismay at losing use of the private club’s facilities for a portion of the year and have suggested pro-rating fees. So far, the Overlee board does not have plans to approve such a measure.
According to the Overlee construction blog, which tracks progress on the new pool, the board had actually considered deferring the project until after this summer because of all the delays. That idea was scrapped when the board further examined safety, the need to change out personnel and the potential for higher costs if the project is further delayed. It was given the green light for this year, despite missing the original Memorial Day goal and cutting into the swimming season.
Tai said the hope is that no more obstacles will arise and the first portion of the new pool can open in June, according to the new schedule.
“Now we’re just really looking forward to charging ahead with construction,” Tai said.