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Management of Derry pool up for discussion

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 8:47 p.m.

In order to keep the Derry Community Pool open, borough officials are considering options for its operations, which have been handled by the Ligonier YMCA for the past three years.

Council members said any decision is just part of the discussion stage, but changes could include the borough managing the pool maintenance and physical plant while the YMCA continues daily operations.

Ligonier Valley YMCA Executive Director Ben Wright said the borough sent a letter to his office regarding the pool, but he has not been apart of any discussions yet.

“They've got to do whatever is in the best interest for them,” he said. “If Derry doesn't believe they want us to manage it, that's their decision and it doesn't bother us. … The Derry pool has been a break even or a loss for us, so if they feel like they have better avenues, we support anything as long as they're investing in recreational opportunities for their community.”

The pool's finances have not been stable since debt from renovations about 10 years ago cost nearly $100,000, said council President John McCreary.

“Any money that gets donated to the pool just goes to pay down the debt service,” he said.

McCreary could not provide the exact amount of debt remaining at the pool, but called it “substantial.”

The YMCA presented the borough with a list of improvements and maintenance that the borough might not be able to afford, McCreary said.

Opening the pool each summer costs $10,000, in addition to the cost of water, which had been donated in the past by a municipal authority, he said.

“They can't donate as much as they used to” because of state restrictions, McCreary said.

Some resources were lost last summer as a result of malfunctioning equipment, which caused some frozen food to spoil, he said.

“It's been a tough road,” McCreary said.

During a Dec. 3 council meeting, Derry resident and former school board member Dale Hines said that he's willing to handle the maintenance of the pool, including the filtration system, which he is certified to test.

Council member Chuck DeRito said he and council members Kristine Melville and Jim Byers have developed a parks and pool committee to address the future management of the pool and park activities.

Some residents were upset when the YMCA took over the pool management DeRito said, he said.

“They basically want to keep Derry in Derry,” DeRito said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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