Community pool prepared for summer

May 1—WEST MIDDLESEX — Taking advantage of the clear, sunny weather Wednesday, Brian Foster and Brian Wheaton laid down a new coat of paint at the Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Community Pool.

That fresh paint job is one of a few improvements local swimmers can expect when the community pool opens for its summer season next month.

"We had a mild winter, but it was harsh on a lot of the pool's surfaces and the fencing and lifeguard stands, which is why we're repainting it," said Foster, director of recreation with the Mercer County Regional Council of Governments.

The community pool is owned by the municipalities of Lackawannock and Shenango townships and West Middlesex, but administered by the Council of Governments, or COG.

This summer, the pool will be open from 1 to 6 p.m., June 1 through Aug. 18, and closed on July 4, according to pool information.

Local swimmers will see many of the features they have come to expect over the years, such as the annual Summer Splash celebration, Foster said.

This year's Summer Splash will be held in late July, featuring water sprayed by one of the West Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department's trucks, Little Nikki's Concessions by Gary Weiser, and fireworks by neighbor Ricky White.

There will be some improvements to the pool as well, courtesy of additional funds organized by a joint committee. The committee is comprised of representatives from the three municipalities that own the pool.

The committee oversees the pool's operations and a special fund earmarked for pool improvements, which is separate from the pool's regular operating fund.

This includes $10,000 in CARES funds from each municipality, along with $20,000 from Mercer County's Economic Development Capital Reserve Fund.

About $75,000 in state Department of Community and Economic Development funds are expected, although the committee is still waiting for confirmation from the office of state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-50, Jamestown, Foster said.

One improvement made possible by the committee's special fund will be a slushy machine for the pool's concessions stand, Foster said.

"We haven't offered slushies for a few years because the company we used to rent a slushy machine from closed during COVID," Foster said.

Another improvement includes $20,000 to replace wire fencing around the pool with privacy fencing.

It is hoped the privacy fencing will be installed before the season begins, although the fence installation won't interrupt the pool's operations if done during the summer, Foster said.

Other improvements are being made behind-the-scenes. Those improvements include a $10,000 plumbing project by Barber's Chemicals, which repaired a leak in the pool's pump house.

Last year, the leak caused the pool to lose more than 2,000 gallons of water per day, which drove up costs for water and water-treatment chemicals.

Foster said the repair could lead to at least $2,800 in water-related savings this year.

One project planned by the pool committee is the addition of a pool heater, although it will depend on state funds.

Once the committee receives confirmation the grant funds will be awarded, bids will need to be solicited, the heater and other parts ordered and finally installed, making the heater's installation during this season unlikely, Foster said.

Lifeguards were easier to find this year compared to the last few years post-COVID, Foster said.

The pool has hired even lifeguards — all of whom are returning from last year. Foster hopes to hire at least two more lifeguards to fill out the schedule.

"I was very excited to see that, we haven't had that much rollover in a long time," he said.

Returning lifeguards not only helps keep the community pool fully staffed, but adds to the friendly, small-town atmosphere visitors have come to enjoy at the pool, Foster said.

"People get to know each other here, and that helps familiarize them with how the rules are enforced," Foster said.

Pre-season rates are available for any season swim passes purchased before or on June 4, according to pool information.

Family passes for residents of Lackawannock and Shenango townships and West Middlesex are $150 at the pre-season price, or $165 at the regular price.

Family passes for non-residents of the three communities are $160 at the pre-season price and $175 at the regular price.

Single passes cost $60 at the pre-season rate and $70 at the regular price.

Daily admission rates are $10 for general admission, $5 for non-swimmers and seniors, and free for children 3 and under, the information states.

Updates on the pool schedule and the weather can be found at the pool's Facebook page, "Swimming at the LWSM Pool. ( West Middlesex Community Pool )."

Foster said he answers any questions submitted to the Facebook page, which also lets visitors request pool passes or get information on rentals.

To schedule a pool rental, call the COG office at 724-981-1561, Foster said.

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