Memorial Pool closing controversy hot issue for some

Irish Griffin said she believes if the Memorial Park pool isn’t reopened, crime will spike in that neighborhood of the city.

Griffin held a sign up at a recent picnic at Memorial Park – “Memorial Park Pool Closed” – and is leading a campaign to get the ear of City Council and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

She said she is heartbroken over the repeated gun crimes and seeing her friends burying young boys who were victims of shootings.

“It was shootings going on, our young men dying, and my friends burying their sons,” she said as a reason for wanting to see the pool open again.

Griffin, as many others in the neighborhood, is upset Campana decided to invest taxpayer dollars and seek grants to fix and keep Shaw Place Park’s East End pool operational.

At the rally, Campana told the group that repairing neglected infrastructure over the years was a priority of his administration, but Griffin said not reopening the pool will lead to worsening conditions.

“It hurt my heart because every few days we’re hearing about crime,” she said. “Something has to be done to stop this. I’m willing to go out into the community and let these young people know we are not going to be afraid or tolerate this. They are going to be on the run, not us. It can be done and it will be done.”

The pool at Memorial Park has been closed for at least two years and would require about $1 million to repair.

Griffin said if it’s a money issue, the churches need to get out and contribute time and money.

“It’s going to take a lot of support from the churches because we pray for God to bless the leaders of the city and those who are in authority. But it will take the people to come out into the streets to help in the community to get the pool reopened,” she said.

As overseer of Women of God Ministries, a small group that meets at her house nearby, she isn’t taking the decision lying down.

“This is not over by far,” she said. “The west side of the city needs a pool. We can’t afford to go up to the East End, Loyalsock Township or South Williamsport. We’re comfortable with this pool here and we as responsible citizens will get out and do what we have to do to turn this city around and get the city to reopen the pool.

“He put himself up as a father figure to chastise us,” Griffin said of the mayor’s recent order to close the basketball court for a week until the litter problem improved near the courts. “Who is going to chastise him?

“We will monitor the activity at the park and keep it clean,” Griffin said.

“Let’s do something about it,” she said. “This is not over. We have not resolved this thing. The solution is to see harmony returned to the community. Fixing and reopening the pool will help that to happen.”