Grant may get Dormont residents in the pool
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is giving Dormont $250,000 to boost efforts to restore the borough’s 87-year old pool.
The borough must match the grant. If that happens, the amount raised will be $812,000, the bulk of the $1 million needed to fully upgrade the pool, said John Maggio, president of Friends of Dormont Pool and a Democratic candidate for borough council.
“I am confident we can match the grant,” Maggio said. “We have been able to match other grants we have gotten.”
The state money will pay for rebuilding the pool tank and filtration system, deck paving and landscaping — most of the needed repairs.
“This is the biggest gift we have had so far, and a grant of that magnitude goes a long way toward the pool’s renovation and future,” said Dormont Mayor Thomas Lloyd.
The landmark art-deco pool, which opened in 1920, is believed to be the largest public pool in the state. Other than the addition of a community recreation room in 1996, the facility has undergone little renovation.
“It’s important to our borough, and we certainly want to maintain it,” Lloyd said.
State Rep. Tom Petrone, who helped secure the state money, said the pool is one of the region’s most popular attractions.
“The pool is a real selling point for the borough. It’s really a recreational facility for the whole area, and the quality of life in the South Hills would be affected without it,” said Jon Castelli, research analyst for the House Urban Affairs Committee, which Petrone chairs.
In the past 18 months, plans for the pool and surrounding Dormont Park have generated controversy, sparking a grassroots effort to save the pool as some borough officials discussed closing it.
In January, many residents protested after learning that some council members met with private developers interested in commercially developing parts of the park in exchange for building facilities there.
Last month, three Dormont council members, including the council’s president, were ousted in the Democratic primary.
Rick Wills can be reached at email@example.com or (724) 779-7123.