A beloved recreational institution in Fountain Hill borough, the Fountain Hill Community Pool, will not open for the 2022 season–or possibly ever again.
Fountain Hill Borough Council made the decision to close the 63-year-old facility at a meeting held Wednesday, March 23.
The decision followed a public forum held at St. Luke’s Hospital last month during which council heard feedback from residents about the pool, which it was told needed costly repairs just to open for the 2022 summer season.
Over the next two to three years, borough officials estimated that the pool would need at least $65,000 in additional repairs to its concrete decking, plumbing and picnic pavilion.
Along with paying for those repairs, the option to close the pool was one of several that were presented to both council and community members as part of the forum.
The borough was also having difficulty attracting lifeguard applicants, as many other smaller municipalities are amid the current highly-competitive, fragmented job market.
Finally, a pool poll conducted by the borough last fall revealed lackluster support for increasing taxes to cover the rising pool maintenance, repair and employment costs.
According to the results of the poll, 60 percent of residents said they would not support a tax increase to cover rising costs. Forty-three percent of residents surveyed said they had not visited the pool in at least five years, and approximately two-thirds of residents said their friends and neighbors don’t visit the pool regularly.
The pool was also discussed at a borough recreation committee meeting held last week.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, borough manager Eric Gratz said the committee’s recommendation following the meeting was to close the pool permanently.
Regardless, he said, council needed to make a decision–at least for this year–as soon as possible.
Councilwoman Annemarie Jordan made the motion to permanently close the pool, but said she did so “with a broken heart.”
“In my mind, it’s a sad day,” council president Norm Blatt said. “I will mourn this day.”
The borough said it is currently in talks with neighboring municipalities to provide a swimming opportunity for residents, both this summer and future years.
In other business, council voted with regret to accept the resignation of borough codes enforcement and zoning officer Tom Wargo, who Blatt and Gratz said had decided to retire after working for the borough for approximately two-and-a-half years.
Gratz was appointed interim zoning officer.
Wednesday’s meeting was streamed on the borough’s new YouTube channel.