BERGENFIELD - Kids in one North Jersey community have to find a new hangout this summer, unless residents can come up with the money needed to open their pool.
Every summer for the last 40 years, the Bergenfield Swim Club has been the heart of the community. This summer, it will be closed for the first time because of a funding shortage.
The community is rallying together to find a solution. "This is the town swim club you all remember, with the swim team and cookouts and barbecues and whiffle ball games," says Carreen Longo. "And everyone is welcome there."
Last summer, the pool developed a crack. It was temporarily patched, but now the pool needs a complete overhaul at a cost of $150,000. The club doesn't have the money.
"It's upsetting because I've been going here my whole life," says Tim Seeback. "Before I was born, my family's been going."
The pool's closure is disappointing for high-schoolers and college kids looking to make extra money as lifeguards. "Having that little bit of extra money without having to ask my parents is really helpful," says Emily Longo.
The nearby New Milford pool has welcomed Bergenfield members, and offered some of the lifeguards jobs, but many say it doesn't feel like home.
To reopen the Bergenfield Swim Club, Carreen Longo says it's going to take community effort. "It's going to be the members helping to raising funds, and the town coming to the table and helping us find a solution," she says.
The pool is private, but leases public land from the city. Members are considering making the pool a public-partnership or turning it into a municipal pool.