Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Borough Should Find Money for New Pool and for Ricketts says NAACP

Mercury Photo by John Strickler
Instead of swimming in Manatawny Creek, NAACP Vice President
Johnny Corson told council that Pottstown's children need a pool.
The president and vice president of the Pottstown chapter of the NAACP told borough council
Monday that if the borough and school district can find $5 million to fix sidewalks and install bike lanes, they should also be able to find similar amounts to build a pool in Pottstown help the Ricketts Community Center.

"I went by Memorial Park the other day and I saw kids swimming in the Mantawny (Creek)," NAACP Vice President Johnny Corson told council.

"I know I wouldn't let my children swim in that creek. Who knows what's in it, animal feces and the like," Corson said.

"If we had a pool, we wouldn't have to worry about that," he said.

Johnny Corson
Pottstown did have a pool, Gruber Pool, but it closed in 2000 when it was discovered that long-deferred maintenance on the electrical system posed a safety hazard to swimmers.

When the borough could not come up with up with the money to make the repairs, the decision was
made to fill in the pool and over was constructed the Trilogy Park BMX track.

In the meantime, the borough used grant money to construct and open the spray park in Memorial Park.

However, Corson and NAACP President Newstell Marable argued that the pool is needed not only to help residents to keep cool, but to learn to swim.

Newstell Marable
"A swimming pool is very important," Marable told council.

"A town this size should have a pool and a good community center," Marable said.

"If you had a good director, and people who could grants, you'd be surprised where that center could go," Marable said.

Although the Ricketts Community Center is owned by the borough, it has been operated since 2009 by the Reading-based Olivet Boys and Girls Club.

Both Marable and Corson spoke out against that arrangement, both before it was made and since it was implemented, arguing the center should be operated locally and that the club's rules make it more difficult for adults to use it.

Ricketts Community Center
Prior to the club taking over, the center was operated by a local group known as the Collaborative Board, which lost control over accusations of financial mismanagement.

Corson pointed to former Philadelphia Mayor John Street, an avid bicyclist, who hates bike lanes, as part of a body of evidence to suggest the money Pottstown School District and borough council are pursuing jointly to create bikes lanes, as part of a safe-routes to school initiative, could be better spent on a pool and on the Ricketts Center.

Pottstown Borough Council President Steve Toroney thanked both men for their comments.

Borough Manager Mark Flanders informed council that he and representatives from the school district met with state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44th Dist. about the transportation bill that is pending in Harrisburg and whether the Safe Routes to Schools project would be eligible for funding from it.

After Monday night's meeting, when it was pointed out to Corson that it is unlikely the state transportation funding being pursued by Pottstown to help pay for sidewalk repairs and bike lanes could be used for a pool or a recreation center, Corson replied that the borough has grant writers and could be looking for grants to pay for the pool and to support the Ricketts Center.

1 comment:

  1. how about there is a pool down the street from the ymca about the naac needs to worry about themselves and stop trying to be in the middle of everything everywere all the time...