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Town improves pool, plans parties

Ingrid Mezo

After investing thousands of dollars on improvements to the 30-year-old community pool, Emmitsburg town officials are hoping to attract more people there this summer by hosting a number of low-cost theme parties.

The first pool party is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. July 8.

The town recently invested about $70,000 on repairs to the pool, and has set aside more money in fiscal 2006 to make additional improvements.

"In the last 18 months, we've replaced the tile in the pool, we refurbished the entire inside of the pool, fixed a major leak in the main pool, and done minor repairs to the building, such as painting, light fixtures, showers and replaced the filters," said Mayor James Hoover.

Additional improvements to be made include fixing a leak in the baby pool and replacing the pool's fence. The town has set aside money in the 2006 budget to replace the fence, with an estimated cost between $25,000 and $30,000, according to Town Planner Mike Lucas.

Lucas said the baby pool has been closed temporarily due to a leak, and plaster problems.

American Pool Management was expected to conduct a pressure test on the pool today to determine the cost of repairs to the baby pool.

"Given the volume of water that is being lost, I doubt we're looking at a minor fix, so, to be honest, I'm afraid it could take some time to get the repairs identified, approved and undertaken," Commissioner Chris Staiger said in an e-mail to The Gazette.

In addition, there is still more work to be done on the pool building, such as replacing the roof, but "nothing that keeps the pool from operating in a safe condition," according to Hoover.

In addition, the town is researching placing a pavilion in the pool area or patio umbrellas at existing tables to provide more shaded areas, Lucas said.

"During Mayor Hoover's administration, the pool has been a focal point of improving community recreational facilities," Lucas said in an e-mail to The Gazette.

The pool parties are being sponsored by local businesses. The first party is geared to the whole family, Hoover said.

"We're going to try ... to promote family time together," he added.

Other parties will be scheduled on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.

"The second [pool party] is geared to teens 13 and above, the third will be for younger kids under 13, and then we'll wind up the year with another family party," Hoover said.

Many who currently use the pool are children between the ages of 9 and 16, according to the pool's assistant manager, Kristy Head. Children 9 and older are allowed to use the pool without adult chaperones.

"A lot of the people ...come on a regular basis," Head said. "I think a lot of the residents and a lot of the kids in Emmitsburg who walk here and ride their bikes here get a lot of use out of it."

More people are using the pool this year than last year, she said, "mainly because it's been hot this summer and it was pretty rainy last year."

But Head said she thinks prices for non-Emmitsburg residents discourage non-Emmitsburg residents from using the pool.

"It's $6 for an adult, and $4 for a child out of town, and it seems like that's decreased membership," she said. "When their prices went up, people from out of town, like Thurmont, went elsewhere ... the pool parties will hopefully bring more people in."

Jennifer Joy, the town's zoning technician, said town records indicate that more people are using the pool this year, and that the pool is often filled to capacity.

"Our membership is way up this year, as are our receipts and revenues," Joy said. "We are over 100 season pass memberships this year, and last year we had eight family memberships that came to 31 passes. This year we have 19 family memberships, which come to 86 passes, that we have signed up since we opened June."

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