Pools open

The Cedar, Jordan and Irving swimming pools are opening for the season this weekend and Mack will open June 15.

Mikowychok said Mack is opening a week later because repairs had to be made to a leaking roof over the pool’s filter room, which included replacing rotting wood rafters. By the middle of this week those repairs were 98 percent complete, he said.

Allentown’s two free spray parks at Bucky Boyle Park and 5th and Allen Street Park opened June 1.

Mikowychok said water slides have replaced diving boards at most if not all the city’s pools, “so they’re better than the spartan pools of the ’50s and ’60s – but not by a tremendous amount.”

City Council

City Council President Julio Guridy said council should wait until Mikowychok is ready to share his ideas about Allentown’s pools before making any decisions. But he added the new parks director first has to be given enough time to develop those ideas.

Schweyer explained one reason no progress has been made on swimming pools in the last year is because it took the city nearly a year to hire a new parks and recreation director. He also noted council member Cynthia Mota, who chairs council’s parks & recreation committee, recently returned after being ill outside the country for nearly two months.

City Council also has been pre-occupied with the controversial water and sewer lease for the last several months.

Schweyer said the city’s bond rating is increasing, which will allow it to refinance debt, which should generate “more cash in the bank.” He said that will generate a conversation about funding priorities and he expects pools to be among them.

Schweyer said he is fully committed to find funding for the city’s pools, but warned the entire park system has huge capital needs, including deferred maintenance. “Our pools are not our only area of concern.”