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Greensburg YMCA makes a splash at Veterans Memorial Pool

| Thursday, July 31, 2014, 3:15 p.m.

Attendance has taken a slight dip this summer at Veterans Memorial Pool in Greensburg, but a city YMCA official remained optimistic about his agency's involvement at the recreation facility.

The Greensburg Y began operating the pool this summer as part of a three-year contract reached with city leaders.

“We're always hoping for more (swimmers), but we're pleased with the direction and success this year,” said George O'Brien, chief executive officer of the YMCA in Greensburg. “For the first year, we're pleased.”

The pool averaged about 150 people per day, a slight decrease from 2013, O'Brien said.

Rainy weather, some changes the Y made to bolster safety and a hike in some costs affected the numbers, he conceded.

In November, Greensburg City Council approved turning over operation of the pool to the YMCA, which also operates a pool at its facility on South Maple Avenue.

Under the agreement, the Y handles such duties as hiring lifeguards and maintaining the pool and pays the city $2,500 annually. The city remains responsible for capital improvements.

The YMCA benefits through the programs it can offer at the pool on New Alexandria Road and by enhancing memberships, O'Brien said.

“The city's happy and the public in general is happy,” O'Brien said.

The weather has presented some problems.

“It's been a unique summer. The weather's been up and down,” O'Brien said. “But when we have good weather, it's used quite a bit.”

Stricter safety requirements in the pool have drawn complaints from some parents, but the changes were implemented to protect children, O'Brien said.

Children must demonstrate swimming skills before they can go in the deep end, he explained.

In addition, people have complained about the price going up from $6 to $10 as a daily rate for someone without a season pass, he said.

Sue Trout, city administrator, said “we think the operations of the pool by the YMCA are going well,”

City officials have also fielded complaints about the price and the safety restrictions, she said.

YMCA officials said they hiked the daily rate in an effort “to drive folks to purchase memberships good for both pools,” Trout said.

“They have agreed to review the daily rate and consider a decrease next year,” she said. “I am very pleased with their emphasis on safety with the pool operation.”

Some children have been able to enjoy the pool through the Strong Kids Campaign, a Y fundraiser that seeks to help children from disadvantaged families, O'Brien said.

The Y added a yoga program for adults on Sundays at the pool and a child-care program on Wednesdays for children from toddlers to preschool age, O'Brien said. The pool hours have been expanded.

O'Brien said he looks forward to next summer.

“It's our first time, and we're listening to citizens and guests, and there will be more changes,” O'Brien said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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