Memorial Pool and lights back in ordinance

City Council approved a $20 million bond ordinance Thursday, along changes related to language for Bowman Field expenses, adding $100,000 for a streetlights initiative, designating $200,000 for the repair of the Memorial Park pool and providing $500,000 for River Valley Transit needs.

The revised language on where $350,000 is to be spent on Bowman Field, where the Williamsport Crosscutters lease and play baseball,, was introduced by Councilwoman Bonnie Katz.

She said she was concerned that the money be spent on infrastructure needs at the park, such as repairing the concrete base where the box seats are located and painting.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana was pleased the money would be available for retrofitting and replacing lower-wattage bulbs on city streets in high crime zones.

William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director and general manager of River Valley Transit, said RVT will get an additional $50,000 more for the compressed natural gas fueling station and increase the transit authority’s share of the bond from $450,000 to $500,000.

Memorial Pool got $50,000 less than the administration wanted, but officials said the difference could be made up by sweat equity and neighborhoods holding fundraisers.

“I was opposed to borrowing money for a community pool, in part, because the city could not decide but I am pleased it has reached a consensus with Memorial Pool,” Councilwoman Liz Miele said. She was excited for the neighborhood and along with others on council request the citizens make it their pool by contributing to its improvement, such as repairing and painting the bathhouse, raising funds for long-term maintenance needs and – when it is repaired and opened – using it regularly.

Councilman Jonathan Williamson said it was good to set that $200,000 figure and help inspire the community to rise to the occasion, not relying on government resources.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said in the 1960s, when the pool was built, there was no government money invested in it. The pools were the result of public/private partnerships and over the years that dynamic changed.

However, because of the sustainability of the materials used in the pool construction, it makes it more affordable to make repairs and get it working again, he said.

Council President Bill Hall said to those who want to use the pool, they have one and a half years to raise the money, join the community effort and perhaps start a trust fund specifically designed for the pool needs.