Monroeville pool to be put up for sale, making way for turnpike commission purchase
Monroeville council has advertised an ordinance that would allow for the sale of the municipality’s only publicly owned pool despite residents’ concerns.
There was no discussion from council members before voting unanimously to kick-start the process that could end Monroeville Community Pool’s 45-season streak on its 10-acre property along Abers Creek Road.
The property, adjacent to Interstate 76 East, is being sought after by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) for $956,000 to make room for a wider turnpike.
The proposal was presented to the public in May, when Manager Tim Little said the PTC and council agreed to wait on selling the property until after the swimming season. The turnpike first approached Monroeville with the deal in 2018, Little said.
Little’s announcement sparked an uproar among devoted pool members and residents who pleaded with council to reconsider. Council tabled the issue then removed it entirely off the voting agenda in July.
The move was not a rejection of PTC’s offer; however, the deal has an expiration date of Jan. 1. If council delays past that date, the turnpike commission has said it will reappraise the property – which likely means the $956,000 price tag would decrease.
Elisa Beck, of environmental advocacy group Sustainable Monroeville, said the vote should be tabled until council considers all options, such as persuading PTC to purchase an adjacent property.
She also referenced a document that outlines Monroeville’s condemnation, or seizure, of the property that later became the pool. The court document from April 1974 said the purpose of the condemnation was “to make available recreational facilities.”
“And so we’re wondering how it is that the municipality is even allowed to offer that property for sale,” Beck said.
Municipal solicitor Robert Wratcher was not immediately available to comment.
Julio Estremera, a Monroeville resident, also suggested council table the vote to wait for the results of a survey that was circulated to Monroeville Community Pool members.
The deal with PTC includes the turnpike’s purchasing of items on the pool’s property for $62,000 and an easement for construction of a trail that would give access to the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.
Council is expected to vote on the agreement in October.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .