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Renovations inch closer at historic Dormont pool

Pittsburgh Tribune ReviewBy Daveen Rae Kurutz
Monday, August 6, 2007

After two seasons of uncertainty, Dormont Pool users can expect changes that will cement the future of the historic summer hot spot.
Dormont council is expected to approve a measure tonight to begin accepting bids to renovate the aging pool’s bathhouse.

“It’s a good start to keeping this pool the centerpiece of the community,” said John Maggio, president of Friends of Dormont Pool, a nonprofit group that raised money for repairs. “Everyone’s been great and offered a lot of support.”

The organization, dedicated to keeping the 87-year-old pool from closing, collected about $812,000 from donors and in grants since spring 2006.

The group received $75,000 from Allegheny County and $250,000 from the state Department of Conservation of Natural Resources. Both grants require the borough to match the money.
Initially, officials estimated repairs at $2.6 million, but Maggio said $1 million is more realistic.

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.

The pool almost closed last summer after officials discovered leaks and an unstable bathhouse. Friends of Dormont Pool formed and raised about $30,000 to pay for plugging leaks and shoring up the pump room.

In the offseason, workers sealed cracks and repaired pipes to ensure the pool would not leak.

“This is about 1 million gallons of water we’re talking about,” said Ann Conlin, a Dormont councilwoman. “That’s not something you want to mess with.”

Repairs are scheduled for the bathhouse and to support the nearby deck.

“Once these repairs are done, it could stay that way for many more years,” Conlin said. “But we want to add some amenities, but keep the footprint of the pool.”

Council will meet at 7:30 tonight at the municipal building on Hillsdale Avenue.

Maggio said the pool is an essential part of the borough’s identity.

The citizens group shouldered the burden of raising money, Conlin said. She and other borough officials say the group saved a community icon.

“”They’ve done a tremendous job … to make Dormont Pool a jewel,” Conlin said. “For generations to come, people will be able to keep driving down Banksville Road thinking, ‘Oh my God, it looks like a beach.’ The integrity of the pool will continue.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz can be reached at or 412-380-5627.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633