Naples gym roof to be patched; leak forces gym closure


CATCHING THE LEAKS – A tarp covers the floor of the Naples Town Gymnasium on Monday. This week, the leaks in the roof are being patched and the gym will be usable again by Feb. 19. (De Busk Photo)
Naples gym leak won't stop food pantry
By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer
NAPLES - Despite a leak in the roof that temporarily closed the Naples Town Gymnasium, the Crosswalk food pantry will be held at its usual location and time.
"Crosswalk will be open at its normal time on Monday, Feb. 19," Crosswalk Community Outreach Director Joanne Moore wrote in an email.
"Volunteers are to come at the same time as before and we open to the community from 1 to 3 p.m. with Kyrie's Kitchen and The Food Basket," Moore said.
The mass email was sent on Tuesday, a day after the Naples Board of Selectmen discussed the condition of the gymnasium roof.
The board had expressed concerns that Crosswalk needed the gym and could not find another location on such short notice. Furthermore, it was determined that there are no safety issues regarding the ceiling.
"They have called us and stated we could use the gym on Monday and resume our programs as usual as they are patching the roof this week," Moore wrote.
Crosswalk sets up the food pantry in the Town Gym every other Monday afternoon and has been doing this for years. The pantry serves Naples and surrounding communities.
"Happy to be back to normal soon," Moore said. "Please share this good news with others who volunteer or come for food."

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES – The Naples Town Gymnasium is temporarily closed because of a leak from the ceiling that prompted town officials to tarp the floor.

All exercise classes have been rescheduled or are being held at other venues.

Definitely, the gym will be open again for Crosswalk food pantry on Feb. 19, this upcoming Monday.

The roof will be patched by then, most likely using Flex Seal™, a liquid rubber designed to stop leaks and available at most home improvement stores.

However – as was discussed during the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting – there will need to be some long-term solution for the roof that was replaced in 2000 and has basically leaked ever since then.

On Monday, Public Works Director Steve Merkle updated the selectmen.

The roof is flat, rather than pitched. It is a tarp membrane roof with one drain, which is located above the gym bathroom, Merkle said.

“When the leak occurred there was two inches of water by the drain, one inch in the center of the roof and three inches in the front corner,” he said.

“Literally, there was a 30 foot rain shower,” when it was leaking the most, Merkle said. He also said the roof had leaked steadily for six hours.

Chairman Jim Grattelo, who had glanced at the condition of the ceiling prior to the meeting, wrapped up the agenda item with a speedy and short-term solution.

“Right now, the tarp is on the floor. For all intents and purposes, the gym is closed,” he said.

“It costs $600 to remove the snow. We have to get the snow off the roof. Get someone up there tomorrow [Wednesday]. Clear the snow, squeegee all the water. Then, we’ll get an engineering company in there to take a look,” Grattelo said.

Selectmen Jim Turpin agreed.

“I would be in favor of getting the snow off the roof,” Turpin said.

Grattelo said, “The first step is to stop the leaking.”

Merkle explained that when it was discovered the roof was leaking, there was a layer of ice that prevented anyone from determining where the hole or holes might be.

“This week, we are in a grace period. We do have some warmer temperatures,” Merkle said.

At that point, American Legion Post 155 Post Commander Bill Stuart suggested using Flex Seal.

“We did it on the legion roof. It works,” he said.

Toward the beginning of the discussion, Merkle provided a history of this winter’s leak in the gymnasium roof. With the exception of the small meeting room, the other sections of the Town Hall do not have roof leaks.

“Over the last month, a leak has sprung in the gym. It’s nothing new, but new to me

It has progressively gotten bigger,” he said.

“The roof has been leaking” for several years, he said. “They put new roof on in 2000. According to [Town Clerk] Judy Whynot, in 2001 or 2002, it started leaking.”

“I would like direction from the board. We lease the gym to multiple parties,” he said.

“I never can tell when it will leak. Today, it was at noon – on a beautiful day,” he said.

Merkle reported to the board that he had contacted Interim Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz and moved forward with soliciting engineers.

Merkle reached out to six civil engineering firms and received phone calls from three of them. One company provided a cost estimate while “the other two didn’t have the time,” he said. “I am not working with a whole lot of numbers.”

“The sheetrock in the ceiling will get compromised” was one of the concerns in the forefront, he said.

The board agreed that it was in the best interest of the town to protect the existing roof against more water damage.

Grattelo also addressed potential damage from shovel of the membrane roof. He said the business he owns, Jokers, has a similar roof, which has presented problems over the years.

“Every time you shovel off the roof, you are going to have dings in the roof,” Grattelo said.

He later said that even the smallest hole in the roof will cause a sizable leak.

Merkle responded to questions about shoveling the roof, saying the town does not contract someone to shovel snow off the roof after every snowstorm.

“We don’t shovel every time – the cost is $600,” he said.

However, if a storm dumps several inches of snow and rain is forecasted, Merkle contacts someone to shovel the roof, he said. The main concern is keeping the weight off the roof, he said.

“Right now, there is only 2 ½ inches of snow,” Merkle said.

Essentially, the board determined an expedient solution was needed. Then, a determination of the cost to repair or replace the roof can be done.

“We have to live through the season. Ultimately, it needs to thaw before we can get up there,” Vice-chairman Kevin Rogers said.

Allowing the sheetrock to absorb water from the leaks “is a threat,” Rogers said.

“If there is moisture up there – we are facing a whole ‘nother problem,” he said, citing mold that becomes a public health issue.

“We’d have to take that ceiling down,” Rogers said.

Selectman Bob Caron II agreed.

“We have to get through this season. We want to make sure it is safe,” Caron said, advocating for an engineer to assess the damage as soon as possible.

Chairman Grattelo said the best plan of action is: To contract with a roofing company that will “repair the holes and patch it to get us through the winter.”

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