Partial collapse of Dormont pool parking lot has mysterious origin
The origins of a buried, concrete box as big as a mobile home that collapsed and caused the parking lot of the Dormont recreation center and pool to sink are a mystery.
The hollow box — 20 feet wide, 50 feet long and 10 feet deep — started collapsing Wednesday, causing everything above it, including dirt and several parking spaces, to fall in with it.
“We don't think it's any cause for alarm or anything. It's just something that was underground that nobody knew about,” borough Manager Jeff Naftal said.
The recreation center remains open and repairs should start Tuesday and be completed in two days at a cost of about $6,400, Naftal said. The swimming pool isn't scheduled to open for another three months.
The collapse occurred in the parking lot in front of the recreation center, close to Dormont Avenue. The pool is behind the recreation center.
“The concrete had deteriorated badly. We don't know how long (the box was there) or what it was used for at this point. It's not on any of our maps or any of our drawings,” Naftal said.
Dormont Council President Willard McCartney speculated the box, buried seven feet underground, could have something to do with sewers being installed in the area in the early 1920s.
“So we don't know if it was an early septic system or sewer system or water storage,” he said.
Recreation center employees noticed the parking lot collapse Wednesday, and the collapse continued overnight into Thursday, Naftal said.
Borough workers started excavating the area on Thursday, he said. Dormont hired a Penn Hills contractor, Niando Construction Inc., to finish the work next week and determine whether the collapse damaged any pipes, he said.
Avalon resident and cab driver Shawn Fenk, 50, who was raised in Dormont, often parks his cab in the parking lot of the recreation center while waiting for fares.
“It's a mess,” said Fenk, who worked as a lifeguard at the pool when he was a teenager.
On Friday, he took photos with his cell phone to post on Facebook — the hole is a hot topic online for him and out-of-state friends who grew up in Dormont, he said.
The recreation center was built in 1929. The pool dates to 1920 and is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
In 2002, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated the pool as a historic landmark. At the time, preservationists called it the largest municipally owned pool in Pennsylvania.
It was on the verge of closing in 2006, as deferred maintenance caused leaks and the bath house to be declared unsafe. The Friends of Dormont Pool formed to raise money to offset some costs and raised more than $100,000 to date.
Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this story. Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers receiver Brown attends workouts despite contract issues
- Grand jury presentment: AG Kane lied, attempted to cover up leak
- Plum students protest orders to keep mum about sex cases
- Man found dead in Lower Burrell
- Whitehall man sentenced to time served for domestic assault of top prosecutor
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- Fayette man dies after accidental fire in home
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Oil’s rebound pushes up price at gas pumps
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- Tickets on sale Friday for Tim McGraw show