Municipalities collaborate, create bussing program after community pool closure

| 06 Jun 2019 | 09:43

By Mandy Coriston
Swimmers disappointed over the closure of the Newton Town Pool for the 2019 season will soon have a new option to beat the summer heat. The town, in collaboration with Thorlabs and the Newton Board of Education, has arranged for free bus transport from Memory Park in Newton to the Hackettstown Community Pool every Monday through Thursday, July 1 through August 29, with the exception of Thursday, July 4.
Township Manager Tom Russo announced the agreement at the Newton Town Council meeting on Wednesday, May 29, and in his presentation, thanked the Hackettstown Recreation Director, Joe Yapaola, for welcoming Newton swimmers. The Board of Education will be providing a school bus and driver to make the trip to Warren County on the allotted days.
Superintendent Dr. G. Kennedy Greene said the partnership between the town and school district is an important one, and he was happy they were able to come together to create the bussing program.
“We work with the town on many issues for shared services,” Greene said, “That cooperation is important. With the busses being more available in the summer, and finding drivers willing to run the route, it was an easy way for us to partner (with the town). We have to find healthy ways to keep our kids engaged, and nothing beats swimming.”
The bussing program will be open to all residents of Newton, Andover Township, Andover Borough, and Green Township. There is no cost for the transport, made possible with a generous $12,000 donation from Thorlabs. Swimmers will be responsible for registering through a SignUp Genius page that will be created for the summer, and will be limited to 50 participants a day. Former Newton Pool manager Jacquie Ferdenzi is being rehired as the bus manager for the program.
The bus will depart Memory Park at 11:30 a.m. and swimmers will be picked up in Hackettstown for the return trip at 5 p.m. Swimmers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and swimmers are responsible for their admission fee and other costs at the Hackettstown Community Pool. Those details can be found at All information on the bussing program can be found on the Newton website at, under the news tab on the main page.
Tracy Paparella, the president of the Newton Sharks Swim Team and vocal proponent for the repair and reopening of the Newton Town Pool, was the one who originally reached out to Dr. Greene and to Jamie LaCouture, the Community Outreach Coordinator at Thorlabs. She brought the possibility of collaboration to the attention of the town council, who were able to bring the program into fruition.
“I am really happy it all worked out,” Paparella said, “Now we need to get the word out and get the bus filled each day. We have swimming for our community this summer- now we can focus on getting the pool repaired and reopened.”
Paparella also shared an email from Deputy Mayor Dan Flynn in which he praised the efforts to keep area children and families swimming this summer. Calling Thorlabs a “model corporate citizen”, Flynn expressed gratitude to owner Alex Cable and LaCouture for their swift outpouring of support. He also thanked Paparella for her passionate community involvement, Dr. Greene for the school district’s assistance, and Russo for pulling the plan together so quickly.
What: Town of Newton 2019 Interim Pool Season Bussing Program
When: 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday, July 1- August 29, 2019 (no bus July 4), return trip at 5 p.m.
Where: Round-trip from Memory Park in Newton to the Hackettstown Community Pool
Who: Residents of Newton, Andover Twp./Borough, Green Twp. (children under 16 must be accompanied)
Cost: FREE transportation with registration, swimmers responsible for pool admission/concessions/activity fees
More info:,