Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Coplay council could keep pool closed for season

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

At Coplay Borough Council’s first session since the quarantine began, council members discussed Parkway Pool — specifically whether to open it at all for the season.

Councilman Stephen Burker led the May 5 meeting discussion on opening the pool. He expressed his concern that restrictions, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, are still in place and could prevent the pool from operating.

“We don’t have anything definite on when the pool will be able to reopen,” Burker said.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest directive extended a stay-at-home order through May 25. That limitation could be extended and social distancing guidelines would apply.

“Even if we got the go-ahead at the end of May, we would still need three or four weeks to get the pool ready,” Burker said. “That puts us into July. Some of the ideas being tossed about are that pools would only be able to operate at half their capacity.”

Parkway Pool does not make any money in any year it is in operation, so a limited season could add more to the borough’s expense burden.

Support personnel, particularly lifeguards, might be in short supply if a decision to open isn’t made soon. The position attracts students who are active and motivated. There is a high possibility that anyone interested in summer employment will have employment lined up well ahead of August.

Burker had another concern about lifeguards.

“These are the people who are going to enforce regulations. While most people comply with restrictions, there are people who will object,” he said. “Do we want to put lifeguards in a position where they are trying to enforce rules that are difficult and vague at best?”

Burker said he wants the pool to operate as a safe, fun activity.

“We don’t want to open up the pool for revenues and lose the goodwill the pool brings to our community,” he said.

Borough public works Director Paul Boyle said he and his crew might be able to reduce the number of days it takes to prepare the pool for the season if they start that process now.

Councilman Charles Sodl was interested in holding a vote at this session, but council agreed to hold off until next week’s meeting. Council members might get input from residents.

The borough budgeted $64,000 for pool operations. Closing the pool will save a large portion of that bill. Tax revenues are expected to be down; reducing expenditures may be looked at as a necessity.

The next scheduled council meeting is 7 p.m. May 12. Council will meet via teleconference until restrictions are lifted by the governor. The public is invited. Call-in information is posted on the website, coplayborough.org.