By Jan Carabeo
NORRISTOWN, Pa., (CBS) — It’s a first in 54 years. The gate to the George Washington Carver Community Center pool in Norristown will most likely remained locked this summer, leaving close to 1,500 kids throughout the community without a cool spot on hot days.
The center, which operates entirely on donations, fundraisers and a limited number of rentals, doesn’t have the money for extensive repairs needed at the pool.
“Just running the pool itself costs $20,000,” Board President David Hodo said.
On top of that, the winter was not kind. Water and ice chipped away at the walls.
“That caused a lot of damage, more than we’d ever seen before,” Hodo said.
Hodo estimates the pool needs at least $30,000 for repairs and mounting bills, and hope to open at some point this summer is now all but gone.
A private donor offered the center $30,000, but only if the municipality oversaw the operation, ensuring that money went to the pool.
The funds were meant to make repairs and pay for lifeguards.
But after review, the Municipal Administrator and Norristown Council say the entire pool needs an overhaul, not just repairs, and that it’s too late to find and hire lifeguards.
“What seems like a negative on the surface means we just have to work harder to achieve the final goal,” Hodo said.
Hodo wants to work with Norristown and wouldn’t mind financial oversight.
But the administration says before that can happen, there would have to be a long talk about the center’s business plan and how to make it a more viable operation in the future.
“It’s sad, it really is,” Cynthia Jones said. “The children don’t have any place to go.”
It’s unclear what happens now to that donor and that $30,000 offer.
Hodo would like to use the money to overhaul the pool this summer and re-open it next year with municipal oversight.
All parties will have to sit down to discuss.
But until extensive renovation are complete, Norristown officials recommend the pool stays closed.
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