Pittsburgh’s newest spray park set to open in May in Lincoln-Lemington
Pittsburgh will open its newest spray park in May on the site of Lincoln-Lemington’s former Paulson Swimming Pool, which has been closed for more than a decade.
The city’s Department of Public Works has been working on the $1.2 million project since last year, according to department Director Mike Gable. He said crews had to fill in the old pool on Paulson Avenue and install piping for water features.
“I think it will be great for the kids and the community,” said Jackie Fielder, 63, a longtime Lincoln-Lemington resident. “I know that most of the residents wanted to reopen the old swimming pool, but I think this is safer. I think the spray park will be a great amenity for the kids in the neighborhood.”
The Paulson pool fell victim to Pittsburgh budget cuts in 2003 when the city was facing a $60 million shortfall and bankruptcy. The city closed nearly half of its 32 pools. Eighteen remain open. The city has since built seven spray parks, six on former swimming pool sites. Paulson would mark the eighth spray park.
Pittsburgh Operations Chief Guy Costa, who is retiring March 31, has fond memories of swimming in the Paulson pool as a child. Costa grew up in Larimer and said his grandmother had a small grocery store across the street from the pool.
“As kids, we swam there all the time,” Costa said. “We used to swim then go over to my grandmother’s store and get something to eat. It was a great place to swim. That will be my final project as a city employee, and it’s ironically where I learned to swim.”
Louann Horan, operations and administrations manager for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the spray parks have been popular with younger kids.
“The older kids gravitate to the pools, but the younger kids like the spray parks,” she said. “I’m really happy for Paulson. I think they bring vibrancy to a community. They are colorful and warm and provide a safe destination for city residents and especially kids.”
The pool is scheduled to open May 18.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .