With a little help from Friends…  Manheim Community Pool prepares for 58th season

By on May 20, 2015

Thanks to some final touches during a community cleanup effort on May 16 the Manheim Community Pool is spruced up and ready for its summer opening this weekend. Located at 504 Adele Ave. in the Veterans Memorial Park complex, the pool will open for its 58th season at noon on Saturday, May 23.

Volunteers from the Friends of the Manheim Community Pool, the Manheim Swim Team and Manheim Borough Council’s parks and pool committee power washed areas of the pool decking and lifeguard chairs; installed basketball nets and lifeguard chairs; painted and placed benches; cleaned and painted the floor in the men’s and women’s locker rooms and restrooms in the bathhouse; installed platforms in the competition pool, which some people also call the “adult pool.”

Swim team members also cleaned and organized the swim team’s rooms in the bathhouse, and organized supplies in the recently delivered swim team shed. Austin Rhodes of Manheim Troop 47 and about a dozen friends and family members completed his Eagle Scout project that involved power washing, repairing and sealing the wood on six pergolas that provide shade at the pool.

“When people walk into the pool to swim, they don’t realize how much time it takes to get the pool ready for the season,” explained borough council and parks and pool committee member Bonnie Martin. “The borough’s public works department does do a lot to get the pool ready. But if we take care of some of the smaller, more routine items, it allows them to focus on the areas that require some technical expertise.”

Established in 1958, the pool complex features a bathhouse, concession stand, play area, a children’s wading pool and two pools — an L-shaped leisure pool with diving boards and a rectangular competition (adult) pool. The pool faced an uncertain future last fall as council questioned its value to the community. They weighed the benefits of the pool as a community resource against declining season pass sales and the aging pool’s financial drain on the borough. Information provided by the borough in September indicated that it lost an average of $50,000 per year over the past four operating seasons. In 2013 the loss including capital expenses and operating costs, was nearly $140,000, and as of Sept. 19, 2014, that year’s loss, including capital expenses and operating costs, is $63,067.

After hearing input during a community meeting in late September, council made a five-year commitment to keep the pool open. Since then the borough has signed five-year contracts with the Lititz recCenter to manage the pool and with the Swim Team and Aaron’s Acres for their use of the pool. Aaron’s Acres provides summer programs to children and young adults, ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities in three counties in central PA: Berks, Dauphin and Lancaster. Although the organization has held summer camps for quite some time, last year was the first time it was held in Manheim.

(Left to right) Larry Fittery Kim Hatfield and Bob Elzer organize supplies in the Manheim Swim Team's new shed at the Manheim Community Pool.

(Left to right) Larry Fittery Kim Hatfield and Bob Elzer organize supplies in the Manheim Swim Team’s new shed at the Manheim Community Pool.

“Words can never capture the magic that takes place as the campers ride horses once a week or splash and play with their friends in the pool,” said Risa Paskoff, executive director of Aaron’s Acres. “Because of the generosity of the Manheim community, over 100 children, campers with special needs and their families had a summer that will be cherished for a very long time. We’re looking forward to offering that same experience this year.”

Friends of the Manheim Community Pool was organized as a result of September’s community meeting and the borough’s challenge to pool supporters to provide assistance.

“We want to work hand-in-hand with the Friends group. This year we’re trying to organize a list of projects and categorize them as short-term and long-term,” explained Bryan Howett, council member and parks and pool committee chair, “This year we’ll establish a maintenance schedule and prioritize capital improvements such as resurfacing the pool. We’re hoping to get back to the days when the pool was seen as what it is — an asset to the greater Manheim community.”

Kyle Hipple, a member of the Friends group and the Swim Team, explained that the organization wants to keep “this community asset.”

Phil Grahek installs a lifeguard chair in the L-shaped pool.  (Photos by Rochelle Shank)

Phil Grahek installs a lifeguard chair in the L-shaped pool. (Photos by Rochelle Shank)

“Having the borough’s five-year commitment to keep the pool open is huge,” Hipple said. “It’s laid a good foundation for us [the Friends group] to work with. There was a lot of uncertainty when the pool was being operated on a year-to-year basis.”

So far this year the group of 25 Manheim area residents focused its efforts in several areas, including what Hipple described as simple things like better directional signs to the pool. A long-term goal for signage is an enhanced sign for the pool itself, perhaps one that can convey information about the pool such as membership information and pool hours.

The group also reviewed marketing efforts for the pool.

“We need to make sure that people are aware that the pool is here. We did some basic things for this season, but are considering expanding our efforts for next season,” said Hipple. “Later this year, we may have a booth at the Farm Show or events on the Square and next year we could do a postcard mailer. We’re always looking for volunteers — some things like staffing a booth for a few hours don’t require a lot of time.”

Austin Rhodes of Manheim Troop 47  applies a sealant to one of six wooden pergolas at the Manheim pool as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Austin Rhodes of Manheim Troop 47 applies a sealant to one of six wooden pergolas at the Manheim pool as part of his Eagle Scout project.

The Friends group plans to launch a capital campaign later this year.

“We’ll raise funds for items to make the pool look better and to enhance the experience for guests. Funds that we raise this year may be used for smaller projects such as purchasing more lounge chairs, while funds raised next year will most likely be used toward major items,” Hipple said, “We don’t have a project specified for next year, but some of the things suggested on a report done by the borough last year is to install a splash pool for smaller children or to add slides.”

D.G. March & Associates’ report of recommended pool improvements can be accessed on the borough’s website: manheimboro.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Pool-Improvement-Needs.pdf.

Hipple urged area residents who enjoy using the pool to help support it in some fashion and stressed that the group’s meetings are open to the public. Friends of the Manheim Community Pool meets at 6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Borough Office, 15 E. High St.. For information about the Friends organization, contact the Borough Office at 665-2461.

Ready for a dip? After a community cleanup on May 16, the competition or “adult pool” at the Manheim Community Pool looks inviting.

Ready for a dip? After a community cleanup on May 16, the competition or “adult pool” at the Manheim Community Pool looks inviting.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *