The Crafton Park swimming pool will open on June 12, after being closed during the 2020 season because of the pandemic. The site is set to see some renovations over the next two to three years.
By Chadwick Dolgos
Crafton council unanimously approved a motion requesting a grant of $250,000 for pool house renovations from Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) at its March 25 meeting.
The total pool house project, which will fund a complete renovation including installing more effective plumbing, will cost $500,000. Half of these funds would be covered by the DCNR grant and the other half covered by the borough. While the project will not begin before this year’s swim season, the council anticipates completion by next year.
“If the agency awards us the grant this year, we could get the project designed, bid and built in time for next year’s swim season,” said President Phillip Levasseur.
Completion of the project will rely heavily on DCNR’s award and funding schedules.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty with state budgets and state agencies, so schedules and awards may push successful projects into a build schedule late 2022 or 2023,” said Levasseur.
Finding the right bidder for the project and sourcing materials, which have risen in price during the pandemic, may also slow the project.
While some funds were budgeted for minor pool improvements in 2020, minimal work was completed over the year, in part due to the COVID-19 restrictions on materials and personnel.
“We had a lot of restrictions and issues to deal with with our public works people,” said Councilwoman Coletta Perry.
After deciding to apply for the DCNR grant, the borough council strategically further delayed spending more of the pool renovation budget.
If the borough is awarded the grant, DCNR will match the amount of money the borough has budgeted but not yet spent on the pool renovation project.
The project was also deprioritized due to COVID-19, which forced local governments to shift resources and focus their attention on keeping their residents safe.
Crafton’s pool will open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturdays and 1 to 7 p.m. on Sundays beginning June 12 and will be open seven days a week through Aug. 22, when it will hold weekend-only hours through Labor Day. General admission will be available at a flat rate of $10 per person, as approved by the council’s fee resolution earlier this year. Age will not affect the cost of admission.
“We recommend that we allow general admission Monday through Friday,” said Doug Sample, interim borough manager. “Because we want to accommodate our pass holders, general admission [for weekends] would only be sold to a family with pass holders.”
Crafton’s pool has a capacity of 500 swimmers. Under Allegheny County’s COVID-19 restrictions the pool may operate at 75% capacity, which means 375 swimmers will be permitted at a time. General admission would be cut off when the pool reaches 80% of maximum permitted capacity, as per Crafton Borough’s COVID-19 restrictions. The borough has hired a software company to track live numbers to regulate capacity.
Locker rooms will be limited to restroom use only, and lounge chair rentals will not be available this season due to the increased cleaning efforts that would be required between uses. Pool goers are permitted to bring their own chairs.
The concession stand will be open, offering prepackaged foods and bottled sodas and waters.
Swimmers will also be required to wear their masks while not in the pool. Current rules and regulations are subject to change.
“Hopefully the worst of the Covid issues are behind the commonwealth and the nation,” said Levasseur.