Future of holiday home pool in West Rockhill under discussion
WEST ROCKHILL — When the West Rockhill-Sellersville Joint Recreation Authority held its reorganization meeting for this year, there was a lot of talk about its budget and where things stand for 2022, Jan Deetz, chairman of the authority who oversees the pool at the vacation home, said at the Jan. 19 meeting of the West Rockhill Township Board of Supervisors.
The public swimming pool, jointly owned by the two municipalities, is in West Rockhill.
“We’re at a standstill right now on how we’re going to proceed for 2022,” Deetz said. “We were in the red at the end of 2021, so at this point we ask that the Township and Borough sit down with us and discuss the future of the Holiday House pool and where we are going. .”
Jay Keyser, chairman of West Rockhill’s board, said the future of the pool was a growing concern.
“It’s been a challenge over the past few years, we all know that,” he said.
He said he would like to know what the long term plans are for the pool.
“What we’ve seen and experienced is an increase in the amount of money needed each year and it doesn’t look like the pool can sustain itself,” Keyser said.
Contributions from the two cities were for capital improvements, not day-to-day operations, he said.
“To continue putting money into the pool if it can’t sustain itself is a burden on both municipalities, which we both know, not that we don’t want the pool to succeed” , did he declare.
He said he thought there should be a meeting of the two cities and the Joint Recreation Authority, but that the authority, which is the governing body of the pool, should first develop a plan for this. that she would like to see happen with the pool.
In response to Keyser’s question about whether the pool currently has enough staff to open, Deetz said no.
Pool lifeguards are paid $8.75 an hour, but in today’s economy, other part-time jobs may pay better, she said.
With the recent renewed Covid surge, some pools may not open this year, Keyser said.
“You might want to ask yourself if we really should open or not,” he said. “If you’re going to ask for money, I think you should have at least some indication that you’re going to have lifeguards to handle it.”
Deetz said the authority had prepared two possible budgets for the year — one if the pool was open and one if the pool was not open, in which case there would still be maintenance costs.
Grants and fundraising activities are being considered, she said.
“We tried to really stem that and move in a positive direction,” she said.
Hal Schirmer, the West Rockhill council liaison with the Joint Recreation Authority, said it was good for people to become aware of the situation, which could lead to ideas for a solution.
While it’s up to the Joint Recreation Authority to come up with a plan, support from both city boards will be needed, said West Rockhill board member David Collingwood.
“I think sitting down with the supervisors, with the borough, is a good idea after you’ve formulated some sort of plan or plans that you can present,” he said.
Deetz said the Joint Recreation Authority will develop a plan and send it to both municipalities in February.
During the public comment period at the West Rockhill meeting, Sellersville City Council member Don Crouthamel said he looked forward to the meeting between the two towns and the Joint Recreation Authority.
“I think our concern in Sellersville is similar to yours. We want to see the pool operate as a self-governing authority and I think for the most part it has,” he said. “The amount of money each municipality has contributed over the past few years has been relatively small.”
The Holiday House pool was once the “preeminent pool in the area”, he said, but membership numbers have plummeted in recent years and the past two years have been particularly difficult due to Covid. The pool at the holiday home was not open in 2020, but was in 2021.
Crouthamel proposed that a feasibility study to determine potential membership be carried out next year and said that if the study shows that there are enough people interested in membership, “we have to find a model commercial that will provide this standalone capability that we’re talking about.”