Upgrades eyed at city’s pool

The City of Warren is floating plans for improvement work at the municipal pool.

While grant funding is not yet secured, designs and estimates are ready for the project aimed at updating facilities and bringing the site into line with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

“Some of this is ADA driven and some of this is because of the age of the buildings,” Parks and Recreation Director Mary Ann Nau said of the facility, some of which has been in place for more than 40 years. “These areas are currently not in compliance (with ADA) at all and in some areas it’s not sufficient regardless of ADA.”

Improvement plans include a restroom reconfiguration which includes new toilets and sinks and installation of baby changing stations. A unisex, ADA compliant toilet would be installed in the lifeguard area.

Other improvements include upgrades to the first aid station and the lifeguard locker room, an improved entrance and exit to the basement, installation of windows for ventilation, ensuring there are enough showers, installing high/low shower heads and ADA compliant water fountain installation.

The project also aims to improve movement flow through the facility including elimination of the need to pass through employee areas to reach ADA compliant facilities.

“The current locker room wasn’t designed to handle what it is,” City Code Official Alan Gustafson said, noting the site used to feature two pools. “It was designed for a much larger facility.”

“We’re trying to comply with ADA, but we’re also trying to update the facility,” Nau said. “The pool is well used by the community. It’s a regional asset.”

If enough funding is available, a new roof is also needed at the site.

According to Nau, city council will be reviewing submission of a grant application to fund the project at its next meeting. The grant, if approved and awarded, would be through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and would requires a 50 percent funding match.

“We’re going to be looking for community support for grant funds,” Nau said. “We’ll be pursuing additional support.”

The deadline for the grant is April 10.

While Nau and Gustafson did not have a hard estimate of project cost on hand, Gustafson said, “It’s six figures.”

Work would be in addition to ADA improvements at the facility which are already funded or in place.

Nau noted PennPRIME grant money funded a pool entry lift and railing, which is to be installed along the zero-entry area pool which, Nau said, “will allow for easier access for the elderly and people with any disability.”

Even if funding is secured, Nau cautioned work couldn’t begin until at least the fall and would likely have to wait until spring of 2014 or later. She emphasized that work would not be done during the pool’s open season.

Even if funding is not immediately secured, the city has to have a plan in place to address ADA compliance issues by law.