This article was updated to include information about the Annville-Cleona Community Pool’s decision to not open this summer.
For many, visits to the community pool or lakeside swimming are a cherished part of the summer scene. Unfortunately they’re a part of the scene that may be missing or delayed this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some community pools have already decided to close for the season while others will make a decision sometime in June. Uncertainty about the timing of lifting of “stay at home” orders and requirements for social distancing, cost of personal protection equipment for employees and costs of possible increased sanitation requirements are some of the factors being weighed.
The Annville-Cleona Community Pool, East Maple St., Annville, features a wading pool and a main pool as well as other amenities such as a basketball hoop and a volleyball court. The pool’s website and its Facebook page indicate that the Annville-Cleona Recreation Association board met on May 19 and had not made a decision about the 2020 pool season by that point.
“We have received no further guidance from the state,” the website reads. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will meet again in two weeks, or earlier, if warranted.”
Update 6/3: The Annville-Cleona Recreation Board announced that the pool would not be opening this summer. “In order for the pool to open, 3 criteria would have needed to be met; safety for you the members, safety for our employees, and the ability to handle the economic impact of a shortened season. … We, as a board, did not feel that we could adequately meet all 3 of the above-mentioned criteria for safely opening the A-C pool.” Read their full announcement here.
Fredericksburg Lions Pool, located in Lions Park at 124 Lions Dr., is administered by the Bethel Township supervisors and park and recreation board. According to minutes from a May 6 meeting of the park and recreation board, the status of the pool was discussed but then tabled until a June 3 meeting.
Bethel Township manager Melissa Johnson said on May 19 that since Lebanon County remains under a “stay at home” order, a decision on the pool opening has not been made.
“We are awaiting guidance from Gov. Wolf (and the state Department of Health),” she said. “We have made no preparations for opening.”
Final decisions on the pool are made by the township supervisors, and Johnson said it will most likely be discussed during a June 11 meeting.
Mount Gretna Lake & Beach, located at 130 Lakeview Drive in Mount Gretna, features eight-acres of beach, recreation lawn and picnic grove adjacent to mountain stream–fed Lake Conewago. Information on the facility’s website indicates that it will not open for Memorial Day. However, it could open for the season in mid-June, subject to guidelines that are in effect at that time. An email request for further information did not receive a reply.
The Palmyra Community Pool complex at 1122 Park Dr. in Palmyra features three pools—a wading pool, an L-shaped main pool, and a six-lane competition pool. A May 5 post on the pool’s website indicates that a decision on the 2020 pool season has not been made. However, board president Judy Ayle indicated in a May 19 email that the previous week, the board decided to shutter the pool. She said the board did however indicate that if things change drastically, they will revisit the decision.
“Our decision was made for the health of the community, our lifeguards, managers and of course all our members,” she wrote.
William L. Derr Community Swimming Pool at the corner of College and South Railroad streets was opened on July 4, 1957 by the Myerstown Lions Club. It’s currently operated by Myerstown Borough and was renovated in 2017. Information posted on the borough’s website indicated that the pool will not open for the 2020 season.
“We were looking forward to our fourth season with the new pool. It is a treasured asset that is loved by our community. Cancelling the season was an exceedingly difficult decision that not one person wanted to make, but it was the right decision.” said council president Bryan L. Rittle in a statement on the borough’s website.
According to the website, along with health and regulatory concerns, there are also financial concerns that contributed to the borough’s decision to cancel the pool season.
“Borough Council has made a commitment to operate the community pool as an enterprise, meaning all expenses are covered with revenue from the operation of the facility, and not from tax dollars,” Borough Manager Michael McKenna said. “A limited season with limited patrons means limited revenue. At this point, it is likely the pool would incur a financial loss, even if we were allowed a delayed opening.”
The past few years have seen a number of Lebanon County pools close, with a reinvention project in the works for the former Richland Community Swimming Pool Association and a planned demolition of Gingrich Memorial Pool at Coleman Memorial Park, as well as Northeast, Iona, and Valley Beach being no longer in operation. One pool was new to the mix, however, the pool at the former Lieutenant Governor’s Residence at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Second Lady Gisele Fetterman told LebTown in an email that they would like to reopen the pool for the kids this summer, but it depends on how guidance develops in the weeks to come. “The mansion itself has been turned over but it was with the understanding that programming could continue in the pool for years to come,” said Fetterman.
Tom Knapp contributed reporting to this article.
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