Rainy summer not so cool for Western Pennsylvania pools
The region's community swimming pools were hit with a double whammy this summer — rainy days and clear but cool days — that slashed attendance and reduced revenue below expectations, pool managers said.
“Nobody had a great year. The weather was bad, and we had to close early on some days,” Sewickley Township Supervisor Wanda Layman said of the municipally owned Crabapple Pool near Herminie.
“It really affected attendance, and that affected our (sale of) concessions,” said Janet Schork, the township's recreation director.
The less than ideal outdoor pool season ends on Labor Day weekend. Veterans Memorial Pool in Greensburg and Crabapple Pool are closed for the season. Rogers-McFeely Memorial Pool at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe will be open on Friday afternoon and on Saturday and Sunday. The West Newton Pool will be open Saturday and Sunday, and Monday if weather permits.
There were lots of days with precipitation this summer — 33 of the 88 days since June 1 had at least .01 inch of rain, said John Darnley, hydro meteorological technician at the National Weather Service in Moon. The wettest month was July, when 6.16 inches of rain fell. June had its share of wet days, with 5.48 inches of rain, he said.
The only “dry” month this summer has been August, with only 1.05 inches of rain, Darnley said. That's 1.9 inches below average and far from the record 8.92 inches.
Bad weather forced Veterans Memorial Pool at Lynch Field to close on 15 days, said Trudy Ivory, pool manager.
“We were down between 8 and 10 percent” in revenue, she said.
The city had estimated it would generate $90,000 in revenue from the pool, Ivory said.
Average temperatures for the summer months struggled to climb into the 70s. June's average temperature was 69.4 degrees, July's was 73.3 and August's was 69.3 degrees, the weather service reported. June and August had days with low temperatures in the 40s. August has had 15 days with temperatures above 80, said Rihaan Gangat, a weather service meteorologist. A five-day stretch from July 15 to 19 topped 90.
Layman doubts the township will break even on the Crabapple Pool. The township is compiling the financial reports from the pool, which closed Sunday.
“If we break even, we're happy,” Layman said.
The crowds were great at Crabapple Pool on days with high heat and humidity, but there weren't enough of those, Schork said.
“When the weather was hot, we were really busy. ... We had some historic days” in terms of attendance, she said.
Rogers-McFeely Memorial Pool “had a great season,” despite cooler temperatures, said Jeanne Ashley, executive director of the Latrobe-Unity Parks & Recreation program, which oversees pool operations.
While the number of swimmers at Rogers-McFeely pool was fairly high in June and July, August was too cool, Ashley said.
West Newton's pool is operated by a swimming pool board and its finances are kept separate from the borough, said Pamela Humenik, borough secretary.
Former Derry Borough pool manager Kristine Melville, who resigned in August, could not be reached for comment.