Bike trails, lot gardens topics of Mount Carmel gathering
MOUNT CARMEL - Mayor Philip "Bing" Cimino held an open air public meeting Wednesday evening at Town Park to discuss the potential for new recreational opportunities for children and adults.
About 20 people, including Todd Owens, police chief; Ed Cuff, borough manager; council members Robert Shirmer and Leroy "Chico" Moser, and several residents who were involved in past recreational projects, attended the 7 p.m. meeting that lasted more than 90 minutes.
Cimino put forward the idea of creating a non-motorized bicycle park at the east end of Fifth Street at Pine Street. He said the majority of the trails were created several years ago, but the park failed to fully materialize.
"We don't have to worry about vandalism. It will be low maintenance," Cimino said. "It won't cost a lot, but it's going to take time and energy."
Cimino also wishes to a see a community garden established at a vacant lot somewhere in the borough. He said the garden could be open by next spring if a lot is located and people work together.
The group suggested several events that could reinvigorate the borough, including a New Year's Eve drop, a Christmas celebration and ice skating on a temporary rink.
The thought of a rink brought back some memories of past vandalism at recreational areas, including when the borough first attempted to have a rink, which was vandalized with bricks and salt.
Owens said although there are bad apples in the borough, there are still kids who shine a positive light on the area. He referenced a color run held this past weekend at Town Park that was organized by several teenagers.
"We still have a great group of kids here," Owens said. "Once we get moving on this, we will still a lot more involvement with kids."
Pool still closed
One recreational area that will remain closed - at least for now - is the community pool, which did not open this season after several past seasons of running in the red.
Several council members had previous cited low attendance as a primary reason Mount Carmel did not need the pool, including days when admission fees were waived.
Moser said at Wednesday's meeting the pool was losing nearly $20,000 a season, but that number was "doable." He said the amount lost was much lower when Cuff took over management.
He suggested a water park would be cheaper to run and would be attended by more people.
Regardless, the property must be addressed, he said.
"If we're going to have a pool, people need to use it," Moser said. "If we leave it go another year or two, it's going to be an eyesore and nothing is going to be done with it."