Ephrata Council looks to summer fun

By on February 5, 2014

Despite piles of snow laying throughout town, Ephrata Borough Council members are already looking toward summer fun. And many of those plans will especially benefit the area’s youth.

At Monday evening’s work session, council members discussed moving forward with a new skate park at a projected cost of $200,000. Chairman of the Community Services Committee, Robert Good, said his committee will seek approval to award a contract to Spohn Ranch to oversee the design and construction of the new park at next week’s voting session.

The new skate park will be located on a plot of land adjacent to the Ephrata Public Library. Construction was delayed from last year to give council members time to better determine the best course of action on the new park, which will replace the one that used to be located under the roofed area behind the Ephrata Community Pool. During the recent renovation of that complex, the skate park was closed down in order to find a more suitable location.

If all goes according to plan, completion should be by mid-September.

Spohn Ranch, based in Los Angeles, Calif., has considerable experience with the design and construction of such skate parks. In considering who to award the contract to, committee members were able to review a portfolio of already completed projects, along with several letters of reference.

As part of the grand opening, the company and borough plan to include 30 to 60 minutes of demonstrations by professional skateboarders.

“Most of the projects in (Spohn Ranch’s) portfolio were skate parks between 7,000 and 20,000 square feet,” added council President Dale Hertzog. “I would hope we would include elements of all levels of skate boarding in the final plan. My hope is that as that vision unfolds of what they want to do there will be an all encompassing thing from all age and skill levels.”

Mayor Ralph Mowen seems to be as excited about the new skate park as the local youth will be.

“(Borough Manager Bob Thompson) and I were at the Vision meeting this week,” said Mowen. “(Library Director) Penny Talbert is also excited about the skate park. In fact, she is looking to set up events in conjunction with the grand opening. We are happy it will be there and hopefully it will work some of these kids into the library.”

While the skate park may be under construction through most of the summer season, the newly renovated Ephrata Community Pool will not be. Good said his committee will seek approval for a 5 percent rate increase for the 2014 swimming season. But the news is not all bad: several new programs will be in place which will benefit a broader spectrum of pool patrons.

“It’s been the practice to look at increasing rates every other year or every two years,” said Good. “In discussions with (Rec Center Director) Jim Summers, we considered both a 5 percent and a 10 percent rate increase. Next week we will recommend the 5 percent increase.”

Last year, a few concerned residents asked council to consider special pricing programs for grandparents. At next week’s council meeting, members will vote to implement a special grandparents punch card which would earn free admissions with every so many paid admissions.

Councilman Tom Reinhold was congratulatory of Summers’ efforts with the outdoor pool.

“I’d like to thank Jim and the Rec Center for taking a much more active approach with the pool than had been the case in the past,” said Reinhold. “Not every pool in the county has a grandparent option and now we do. I appreciate how they seem to be looking for ways to broaden those who would use the pool.

Good announced another new policy where those patrons entering the pool with a day pass would now have a “good weather guarantee” policy.

“This is for the day customer and not the membership card holder,” Good explained. “Because of inclement weather, if they are not able to use the pool for over an hour, they will be granted another pass good on another day. It also works for those who would come in after 5 p.m. Those customers would be given a pass for an after 5 p.m. ticket. We don’t want them to feel like they lost their money.”

Reinhold added that such programs are not only customer friendly but often benefit the pool, as well.

“Sometimes when customers have a free coupon or pass they will be bringing additional paying customers with them,” said Reinhold. “It benefits everyone.”

Final pricing for the 2014 swimming year will be posted once council officially approves them at next week’s meeting.

For additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit their newly redesigned website at www.ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback and questions via email at klingerglobal@email.com.

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