This issue surfaced earlier this spring when the decision was made to keep closed the Memorial Pool in the Juniata section of Altoona. But another Blair County community pool expects to have a big season despite the tough economy. Members of the recreation and park board in charge of the Bellwood -Antis Township pool and park say that last year was the first time in about 30 years that they were able to end the summer season in the black. A key reason was that they were able to use a $300 thousand state grant, and matching funds from the community to completely rebuild and refurbish the municipal swimming complex.
The result was a popular recreation site that draws about 150 swimmers a day and is a real community asset. Community volunteers are another reason this Bellwood Antis pool is going strong. Their efforts help this facility remains in good condition.
Even when a community pool draws good crowds, it can be difficult to take in enough money through operations to meet expenses. That why the Bellwood Antis park board has hired the Hollidaysburg Y-M-C-A to staff and manage the pool. The result has been a business arrangement that makes the pool a financial success. When it comes to public pools that are shutting down for good, the view here is that situation can be avoided.
The recent Bellwood antis pool improvements were funded in large part by a grant from the State's Department of Community and Economic Development.
Supporters of the Bellwod Antis park say any local pool group struggling to stay open should explore all the options available before another community loses access to a public swimming facility.