The Dome Isn’t Really That Quiet…
“I’ve been to the pool and YMCA several times since the dome was put up and it isn’t that loud.”
“Actually, it is that loud,” the residents of the Crozet Park neighborhood can respond, “you were standing on the wrong side of the dome.”
To start, let’s be clear: we aren’t talking about the sound of people in the pool heard through the dome or people in the parking lot. We are talking specifically about the mechanical blower that keeps the dome inflated. It’s true, it isn’t very loud on the parking lot side of the dome but walk around to the basketball and tennis court side of the dome, and listen. The dome blower cycles every few minutes when the air is warm and rarely cycles off when it’s cold. To hear it at its loudest, please come to listen on a cold day or just after dark, since sound waves travel more easily through the cold air. What will you hear? An incessant and inescapable dull, droning noise. It passes through double-pane windows and solid walls. The residents of the Crozet Park neighborhood have been listening to it since the dome was installed September 27. It literally echoes through the neighborhood. Several of us even hear it inside our houses! There is no escape.
Living next to a park, we all accept there will be occasional park-related noise: swim meets, ball games, festivals. Swim meets end, ball games are won or lost, and festivals set a date for next year. The dome blower noise never stops, even when the pool is closed. We live next to a park. None of us bought our homes expecting to live next to an industrial facility that never closes, which is what the pool has become.
What we have done, unofficially: worn noise-cancelling head-phones around the house, turned radios and televisions up very loud, avoided rooms on the side of our houses closest to the dome (since they are the loudest), kept windows in the quieter rooms closed (even on really nice days) to help keep some of the noise out.
What we have done, more officially: attended the October and November Crozet Park Board meetings, provided the board with unofficial decibel readings, requested the county take official decibel readings around the neighborhood, provided the Park Board with a map of the neighborhood showing how far-reaching the blower noise is, contacted the company that sold the dome to the park for information regarding noise levels associated with this dome blower model and known ways to quiet it (no response from the company), provided Ann Mallek with a CD of recordings of the dome blower noise from the neighborhood, provided the park board with basic research into companies that professionally install sound barrier systems.
To their credit, the Park Board has expressed the deepest concern for the trouble the dome blower noise has caused. They tell us the company that provided the dome and blower assured them it was “whisper quiet.” We now know that isn’t true. Several board members and students from Western Albemarle volunteered their time to build a sound barrier wall beside the dome blower. While the effort is appreciated, it didn’t work as well as hoped and only slightly helped one household. That was in late October. This letter was submitted to the Crozet Gazette on November 27, exactly two months after the dome was installed. We are still living with the noise in our yards, on our porches, in our homes! We have spent October and November listening to and living with the blower noise. It would be wonderful not to spend all of December the same way. All we want is for the Park Board and YMCA to make our neighborhood the peaceful and quiet place it used to be before the dome was installed.
The Spenglers, Rothmans, and Goadhouses
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