WESTPORT, Conn. – About 130,000 gallons: That’s how much water was pumped out of the Westport Weston Family Y in the days after Hurricane Sandy. The flooding caused significant damage, but the facility is slowly recovering and may begin to welcome members back next week.
“We’re optimistic we’ll be able open on a limited basis next week.” Scott Smith, communications director at the Y, said Thursday. “Specifically, we hope to reopen our locker rooms with heat and hot water, our fitness center and upstairs gym.”
During the storm, a tidal surge caused the Saugatuck River to overflow its banks, flooding Main Street and surrounding areas. In addition, Smith said water also seeped into the basement through the ground and drain pipes, causing more flooding.
The flood waters inundated the lower levels of the facility, including the Child Care Center, which saw about 5 feet of water, and the basement areas, where the facility’s mechanical and electrical systems are located, Smith said. All of these systems, including pool filtration and heating equipment, were damaged and need to be repaired or replaced, he said.
The Child Care Center has been partially gutted, and although "great progress has been made" in rebuilding that space, Smith said it is not known how long it will take to finish. The Y is looking in to using the Bedford and Bresslin rooms in the Bedford Building as temporary space for its child care programs.
The Y’s Lower Gym wasn’t flooded, but flood waters in the basement below the gym rose to the top of the basement and started to seep through the gym’s wood floor. As a result, the floor, which was repaired last year, heavily buckled.
Although the Y has been closed, he said some of its programs, such as the Water Rat Swim Team, travel basketball and gymnastics, have resumed practices at other locations.
It is not known when the entire facility will reopen, but Smith estimates that the pools will reopen next week, if progress continues at its current pace.
"Things are certainly falling into place, and each day we get closer to being able to reopen," he said. "But we don't want to say we'll be opening by a certain date and risk disappointing people. We'd rather under-promise and over-deliver."