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Crabapple Park and Pool gets new life

| Saturday, June 16, 2012, 11:16 a.m.

Crabapple Park and Pool is open for business.

Sewickley Township took over operation of the pool on Herminie-West Newton Road this year after it had been run by a board of directors for a number of years. A trust fund, established from donations of local businessman, previously available for financial needs, has been depleted.

That resulted in the supervisors' decision to remove the board's authority and take over operations of the pool.

"Over the past nine years, the pool lost money," said Wayne Jones, chairman of the township supervisors. "The trust overseeing the pool is basically broke. It has been losing $45,000 to $50,000 each year. We've really had an indirect control of it. Now that the trust has gone broke, we had to act. We felt a complete change in process was necessary."

The pool reopened June 7 with 130 customers the first day. Jones said even more people came the next day. The pool is open from noon to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

"We want people to come join us, come see what the pool is all about," said Mandi Zieglar, Sewickley Township secretary-treasurer. "We want everyone to know we welcome their business. We are running very strong. The first week has been phenomenal."

Zieglar said she made a bank deposit of $10,000 from the first weekend's take, which included purchases of season passes.

Some changes have been made. Jones said there is a new manager and some new staff members, plus a reorganization of some offices.

"We have a lot of ideas," Jones said. "We'll see the ones we can use that work. We're dedicated to this idea. We really want to make this pool a success. They haven't had a true concession stand in years."

Jones said he will work the concession stand on Sundays and fellow supervisors John Costanza and Joseph Kerber will be volunteering their time. Others local residents are expected to volunteer.

"We're always looking for volunteers," Zieglar said.

Having the township take over the pool did meet with some controversy. Jones said some members of the pool's board of directors felt the supervisors "were stepping on their toes."

A letter even circulated stating the pool would be closed, but township officials want to stress that is not the case.

"When I was a child I swam in that pool," Jones said. "We're really going to make an effort to make it work. We're willing to lose some money, because we believe it's an asset to the township. We're going to make it as profitable as possible. We're going to give this pool every chance to succeed."

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