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Crafton recreation development plan heads to state for approval

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
Patrons step up to the many booths for a wide variety of snacks at the Crafton Celebrates festival in Crafton Park in June 2008. File photo
Popular oldies band The Mansfield 5 has been a staple at the Crafton Performing Arts Association summer concert series at Crafton Park. File photo
Head Lifeguard Zach Caine, 17, of Crafton, is the first to take the plunge as fellow lifeguard Audra Ogden, 18, of Crafton, looks on just after the noon opening at the Crafton Pool in Crafton on May 23 2009. The pool opens up for the season on Memorial Day weekend each year. File photo
Crafton residents Patrick Wilson, 8, takes to the air as Evelyn Hoff, 7, makes her way back out during a cannonball contest at the Crafton Community Pool in June 2007. File photo

The Crafton swimming pool was last renovated nearly 20 years ago, but it could get a “splash pad” for children and an expanded concession stand, among other improvements, in the next decade.

“It's due for another makeover,” council Vice President Susan O'Connell said.

Crafton Borough Council on Jan. 9 agreed to submit the Recreation and Park Study Committee's development plan to Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for final approval.

From there, officials will decide where to go with renovations at three borough parks and the swimming pool and bathhouse. The plan calls for about $7 million in expenses over the next eight to 10 years.

“The bottom line is that there are a number of recommendations for improvements,” borough manager Bob Callen said.

Partially funded by a $37,500 grant from the DCNR, Crafton formed its Recreation and Park Study Committee in 2011 and hired Pittsburgh-based firm Environmental Planning and Design to consult on the project.

Over the past 18 months, the borough and its consultant looked at ways to improve the parks and pool.

“The committee as a whole agreed that what we wanted was recreation facilities that can be used by everyone in the borough, not just certain people in the borough,” said O'Connell, the committee's chairman.

The committee developed short-term and long-term ideas for the parks, and some of those short-term fixes likely will be made this summer and fall, Callen said.

Those improvements, which would use money set aside by the borough for recreation, would target safety-related issues at the parks, Callen said. For example, some facilities need upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Not that our facilities are unsafe, but (these improvements would) make them more safe,” Callen said.

Long-term proposals call for improvements at Crafton Park — including one basketball court and two tennis courts, new parking lots and a relocated ampitheater.

Borough officials plan to apply for grants to the DCNR for some of the long-term projects. Applications are due April 15. Officials will look for other ways to raise money “irrespective of the state,” Callen said.

Crafton also hired a director of borough services, Jamie Beechey, who will oversee recreation and public works. She began work for the borough Monday.

The community needs to get behind the plan for it to succeed, O'Connell said.

“It's great to have a plan, but what is the use of putting a couple million dollars into the swimming pool if nobody wants it?” she said. “Now, I believe people do, but I think that unless people really want to get behind this effort to do fundraising or get grants and have input in the final project ... I don't see it getting done.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or

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