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Group's goal is to open
Halifax pool this year
By Duane Good, EDITOR

The sun may not have set on the Harry Row Halifax Community Pool, as a group has announced plans to try and open the facility for Summer 2015. (Sentinel photo by Duane Good)

HALIFAX • By a 3-1 vote Jan. 26, the Halifax Area Recreation Authority Board of Directors decided not to open and operate the Harry Row Halifax Community Pool for Summer 2015.

However, a group of local residents has begun its own effort to make the facility available to the public.

Calling itself the Save the Halifax Pool Committee, the group ‘‘is developing a plan which will, hopefully, allow the pool to open for the 2015 season,’’ according to Emily Long Hoffman, speaking for the committee.

The group is comprised of the pool’s Volunteer Committee which has raised funds for the facility in the past; as well as representatives of the Twin Valley Aquatic Club youth swimming organization, Hoffman stated.

The group has developed a Facebook page and is soliciting suggestions and thoughts from the community, she added.

Background. As reported in the Sentinel Jan. 20, the recreation authority (known commonly as HARA) confirmed that it was seriously considering not opening the pool in 2015 due to what it called rising operating costs and declining public interest.

Despite efforts by the Volunteer Committee to promote the pool and raise funds, lack of revenue and usage have remained issues for several years, the article stated, quoting Board Chairman Larry Rank.

He also stated that pool memberships have been on the decline since the mid-2000s and that operating costs have taken up more than half of the authority’s annual budget. (HARA also operates three other Halifax-area facilities: Veterans Memorial Park and Deppen Park in the borough; and the Athletic Fields Park in Halifax Twp.)

In an email to the Sentinel, Hoffman noted that 140 people had signed a petition supporting the pool’s opening for 2015 and that many people attended HARA’s meeting last week in support of the facility. She also said that membership revenue ‘‘has steadily increased’’ in the past three seasons (2012-14).

Since it was formed two years ago, the Volunteer Committee’s membership raised $6,400, plus additional funds for lifeguard training, she said.

The committee also helped HARA to secure a $30,000 Dauphin County Gaming Fund grant for facility upgrades and maintenance and made sure an adult was present on the property during regular business hours, Hoffman stated.