Expensive list of repairs needed at Clarion pool

Clarion Borough Code Enforcement Officer Scott Sharrar said water leaking from cracks in the pool could led to a collapse of the base of the pool.

CLARION - The Clarion Borough Public Pool will not open this year after all.

"We had every intention (of opening the public pool), Clarion Borough Council Member Rachel Roberts said. "But there are just too many things at the pool that need to be repaired."

Roberts' announcement came during the May 4 Clarion Borough Council meeting. Roberts chairs the recreation committee.

A tour of the pool facility led by Clarion Borough Code Enforcement Officer Scott Sharrar revealed the list of needed repairs and renovations is lengthy and expensive.

Sharrar said the "main thing" is the roof over the pool office and restrooms.

From the outside, it's easy to see the edges separating from eaves. The roof is a flat, rubber-based roof, about 25-30 years old.

Inside the office and the restrooms, it's also easy to see rotting wood, water stains from leaks and worst of all, black mold in the ceiling area of every room in the building.

Sharrar said the building needs a new, peaked roof something estimated a couple of years ago to cost around $40,000. The cost of building materials this year have probably put that cost much higher.

In the men's room, an electrical service box is exposed and out-of-date.

Sharrar said the service box needs to be upgraded and secured from tampering.

Much of the cement walking-area surrounding the pool is uneven, with raised edges creating tripping hazards.

An embankment of the west side seems to be eroding.

The gazebo needs to be sanded down and refinished the rough surfaces present many splinters for anyone using the shelter.

The small playground needs to have a rubber-mulch base to meet state codes.

The rubber surfaces on the sliding board have become sunbaked and almost non-existent.

And the main attraction, the pool itself, leaks.

Sharrar pointed out major cracks in the pool that allow water to drain from the pool. All that water has to go somewhere.

Sharrar said he is afraid the leaking water is eroding the ground base under the pool.

"It could just collapse someday and all of a sudden the pool is much deeper than it's supposed to be," said Sharrar.

Sharrar said the problem at the pool is basic maintenance, but added with a small public works department needed on some many other projects in the summer, it's hard to keep up with the pool.

"The borough just doesn't have the people or the money," said Sharrar.

For the past several years, pool management was handled by contract with the Clarion County YMCA.

The Y notified the borough earlier this year it would not be managing the pool this year.

In April, borough council agreed to work out a management contract with Georgia-based USA Pool Management to operate the pool this year.

"We met via telephone with (USA Pool Management) and discussed a contract (for management services) and we were very pleased with it," Roberts told the May 4 gathering of borough council.

"We visited the pool to address some of the requirements and after looking at some of the coding issues we would have to meet all Pennsylvania and Georgia codes because that's where USA Pool is headquartered the pool needs extensive work and we don't have the funds or the time to do it this season," explained Roberts.

The cost of the USA Pool Management services were not to exceed $26,530. The contract with USA Pool Management was contingent on the pool "holding water and the pipes working."

Clarion Borough Council Member Ben Aaron said this month, "It's beyond mere repairs, it's renovations."

Aaron pointed out the pool did not open in 2020 and will not open in 2021, leaving the borough will some money for the renovations.

Aaron also referenced the mold in the changing rooms.

"I wouldn't let my kids in there, I'm not going to open for other people's kids," said Aaron.

Council member Brenda Sanders Dede asked if the borough might be able to secure grant funding if it owned the pool instead of leasing the facility from Clarion Area School District.

Todd Colosimo, Clarion Borough projects coordinator, said owning the pool probably wouldn't make much difference in obtaining grants.

Colosimo noted the borough has a 25-year lease agreement with the school district. That agreement was last renewed in 2012.