Alle-Kiski Valley pools gear up for summer crowds

| Friday, May 24, 2013, 11:01 a.m.

For many folks in the Alle-Kiski Valley, trips to the local swimming pool are a rite of summer.

As always, area pools have plenty of fun in store for those trips this year.

“We always have a lot of fun activities,” said Dawn Hajek, manager at the Southeast Butler County pool, which opens Saturday. “Our lifeguards conduct fun things with the kids. We'll have a regular activity schedule.”

Hajek said the pool's biggest addition this year is a new pavilion.

“We also have the capabilities to accept credit cards at the gate,” she said. “We're officially in modern times.”

Hajek said, unlike other facilities in the area, the Southeast Butler County pool is doing well financially.

“The last three years' attendance has increased,” she said. “It used to be that SEBCO was private, but we've been public for the last 10 years.

“We've been trying to get out the word that we're here, and it seems to be working.”

Two other pools, the Apollo Area Pool and the Leechburg Area Pool, haven't been as fortunate financially as of late, but things appear to be looking up.

“We got our debt down from $84,000 a couple years ago to about $41,000 now,” said Leechburg Area Pool Board member Dom Guido. “Our next loan payment is due in July and we have the money for that.

“If we didn't have a $10,000 loan payment, we'd be able to turn a profit at the gate,” he added. “Of course, like always, it's all about the weather.”

In terms of the pool itself, Leechburg made additions to compensate for the normal wear-and-tear on a 51-year-old pool.

“We just purchased a new pump,” Guido said. “We've done a lot of things you need to keep the pool going.”

Guido said he hopes to have the pool open this weekend.

In Apollo, board member Jason Cecchini said the pool is doing well only a couple years after it was closed for a summer.

“More people have bought season passes this year than at the same time last year,” he said. “We're doing better than we have been.”

Cecchini said the pool's biggest event will be on opening day, June 1, when the pool holds an open house.

“It will be free for the whole community to come out and swim for a day,” he said.

Cecchini said he hopes the pool's new fryers will bring hungry patrons to the food pavilion.

“We're going to have fresh-cut fries this year,” he said. “Not many places have that.

“Food sales are so important to us, because they keep money coming in after everyone buys their passes.”

Cecchini said the baby pool will be open this year for the first time in a few years.

For Cecchini, working on the pool is a labor of love.

“We've all been out there putting our heart and soul into the pool,” he said.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer forTrib Total Media.

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