Brentwood ponders future of borough pool
For more than 50 years, the Brentwood Borough swimming pool has helped people cool off from the summer heat.
Now, however, the pool's very existence is being debated at a 7 p.m. June 27 community meeting that is being held by borough council. The goal is to find out what residents want. Do they want a community swimming pool, or would they like to see it transformed into a public space, and perhaps even an amphitheater?
The pool, which costs the borough $60,000 a year to run, is in need of extensive repairs. Council is now considering three separate options, including filling in the pool and planting grass.
It's no secret running a community pool is a challenge for any municipality,
“We're lucky if we break even,” said Frank Piccolino, manager of Robinson Township, which opened its newly renovated swimming pool in Clever Park last week. “It's a service. A community playground.”
Piccolino said the $1.6 million project included the installation of a new liner and new filter, as well as the addition of a zero-depth entry.
Since opening the renovated pool, Piccolino said daily attendance has been around 200.
The Dormont Pool has its own fundraising group, Friends of Dormont Pool Inc. It was started in 2006 to ensure that the pool — which dates back to the 1920s — remained open by helping to secure funding for repairs and upgrades. The group sells T-shirts, towels and sponsors pub crawls to raise money.
It costs Dormont around $250,000 a year to run the pool. And annual revenue totals around $157,000, leaving a $93,000 shortfall that is usually made up by taxpayer dollars, according to borough officials.
Still the pool plays a role in Dormont summers, community leaders said.
“The pool is a great community asset for people of all ages,” said Sarann Fisher, treasurer of the Friends of Dormont Pool.
Depending on what its residents want, Brentwood council may opt to close and fill in the pool and turn the property into green space.
Closure of municipal swimming pools has been a growing trend across the country. In the last nine years, 65 public, club and privately owned swimming pools have closed, according to Swimming USA, a national service organization that promotes the sport. Reasons for the closures include maintenance and the increasing cost of insurance.
Daily attendance at the Brentwood pool averages 120, said George Zboyovsky, borough manager.
“Memorial Day the pool had over 400 people,” he said. “The Sunday before Memorial Day, we had over 300. The attendance does drop a bit during the weekdays.”
The first option under consideration by borough council would involve putting in a ramp and zero-depth access, plus new piping, concrete decking, a new peninsula for a slide and a new slide. The existing bath house and civic center deck would be demolished. A new patio would be built, and the civic center lot would be made ADA complaint. This option also includes a new pump and filter room and changing room. But, it does not include restrooms and showers.
Also this option — as well as the other two options — includes repairs to the pool's hillside slope, which has drainage and stability issues.
Option 1 is expected to cost the borough $2.5 million to complete, which includes grant monies totaling $300,000.
The second option has all components of the first choice. But, this option would include a larger pump and filter and locker room with restrooms and showers. After a $300,000 grant, this project would cost Brentwood $3.1 million to undertake.
Filling in the pool, the third option, would also involve the demolition of the existing bath house, existing civic center deck, and building a smaller one. Plus, the parking lot would be made ADA compliant. Zboyovsky said this would cost $1.25 million with no grants.
“It is hoped that council will render a decision on a pool option during the July council meeting” he said.