East Cocalico residents make a splash about their community pool

By on July 13, 2016
The Reamstown Community Pool was the place to be on the hot Friday afternoon of July 8.

The Reamstown Community Pool was the place to be on the hot Friday afternoon of July 8.

The usual crowd of three to five attendees at the East Cocalico Township supervisors July 7 meeting swelled to 25 residents as concerns surfaced about the future of the Reamstown Community Pool.

Social media messages stated that “some people want to close the Reamstown pool” and urged residents to show up at the township meeting and/or sign the online petition to keep the pool open.

Supervisors made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of closing the pool.

“As far as I’m concerned, as long as I’m here that pool will never close,” said supervisor Chairman Doug Mackley.

“I agree and I’m biased,” said Supervisor Noelle Fortna. “My daughter gained a lot from the pool.”

Supervisor Alan Fry, who received thanks from the other two supervisors, as well as residents, for his work on the recreation board and time spent daily at the pool, summarized the advantages to youth.

He said the pool provides a safe place for recreation on hot summer days, jobs for youth on site, opportunities to learn to swim and participate on a swim team, plus college scholarship opportunities if students excel in swimming.

Residents praised the well maintained pool, attentive supervision, considerate staff, and other amenities the pool and adjacent park offer.

“If you close the pool, it will be the biggest mistake you ever make,” Lisa Buckles, a resident and Girl Scout leader, said.

Eleven-year-old Sarah Sidle explained how she’s been going to the pool since she was four years old. She shared examples of happy pool experiences, and concluded with: “I love my pool. Please don’t close the pool.”

“What’s the concern?” asked Glenn Haldeman. “What are the facts?”

Mackley said the concern is that there’s money spent that isn’t recouped. The township tries to maintain rates that are in line with other nearby pools. Expenses rises, including that for chemicals. Mackley said bills this month reflect a large expenditure for a new pump, which broke after 30 years.

“The pool budget deficit this year is $68,230,” Fry said. “The township budget is $5.2 million. The deficit represents only 1.3 percent of the budget. The average home property tax is $300 to $400. A tax of $369 works out to $1.40 per household spent to subsidize the pool.”

Fry said pool attendance and revenue is up this year. He said July 6 was the pool’s “best day ever with 364 people in the pool.”

In previous meetings, a resident stated that the actual pool deficit is much higher when considering soft costs, which aren’t attributed to the pool, such as hours worked by township road crew workers for maintenance needed to open, close, and attend to any pool matters. The resident asked supervisors to work toward identifying ways to narrow the deficit.

Most residents in attendance acknowledged that community swimming pools are not money makers. They contended pools are an amenity and enhance local property values.

The National Recreation and Parks Association standard is a ratio of one public pool for every 20,000 residents. East Cocalico Township has approximately 10,000 residents.

As residents spoke, other issues surfaced. Among the questions posed:

* Are you going to add other activities for families?

* Where can we make suggestions/express opinions regarding recreation?

* Have supervisors considered a sliding scale fee for families of limited income?

Residents were asked to email suggestions to the township or attend the rec board meetings, which are scheduled the third Tuesday of every month at the municipal building at 7 p.m.

In other business:

* Kim Reedy, 78 Weaver Road, expressed concern about vehicles speeding around the sharp curve at the edge of her property. Recently, a tractor trailer took out several trees when the driver failed to negotiate the curve. Supervisors said they’d consult the traffic engineer to determine if different signage might be useful.

Reedy also expressed concern about the removal of historic tennis courts to create parking on the property adjacent to hers, Bear Mill Estate.

* Dona Reber received permission for the 40th Annual Reamstown Days Walk/Run on Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.

* Joe Becker was appointed to fill the vacancy on the recreation board.

* Supervisors authorized distribution of the Carriage Hill Park survey to determine what residents would like on the two lots designated for recreation.

* Three candidates for the vacant township manager position were interviewed in executive session on June 22. Second round interviews were set for July 11 in executive session.

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