Generous donations for city pool applauded
SHAMOKIN - A pair of donations from two volunteer organizations provided a bit of good cheer during Monday's city council meeting.
The Lower Anthracite Regional Recreation Committee donated $5,000 to the city towards the operation of the Lawton W. Shroyer Memorial Swimming Pool on Rock Street.
Officers of the West End Fire Co., West Pine Street, had learned of the donation prior to Monday's meeting and decided to donate an additional $1,000.
The $6,000 in gifts seemed a welcome relief by council members who have worked since January on cutting costs and preventing municipal bankruptcy.
The annual operating expense of the city swimming pool is approximately $65,000, Councilwoman Barbara Moyer said after Monday's meeting.
Income at the pool in 2013 was estimated at $39,000. Poor weather kept swimmers away and cut into revenue. It was also closed more than once when a pump malfunctioned.
A new pump was purchased last year at a cost of $55,700 and will be in place for the 2014 season. A new diving board was purchased for the pool this year at a cost of $3,614.50.
LARRC was formed several years ago, and its members have worked to raise funding in support of recreational opportunities, including the creation of an outdoor recreational complex along Trevorton Road in Coal Township.
John "Skip" Rebuck, joined by Rob Slaby and Justin Feudale in representing LARRC, was enthusiastic during his brief address to city council. He noted that with the closure of community swimming pools in Mount Carmel and Trevorton, that Shamokin's is the last of its kind in the immediate area.
"We felt this is so important that the young people of our area have to have someplace to go in the summer, and they need a pool. What better way to support the city," Rebuck said.
The Lower Anthracite Transit System bus service will be asked to add a stop near Shamokin and Race streets that would allow residents of neighboring communities to ride into Shamokin and utilize the pool this summer.
Rebuck briefly lampooned a recent collection of photographs from the Reuters news service of Shamokin that were used to accompany an article on its fiscal struggles. The photos were believed by some to be unflattering. He said visitors to town should focus on the good - the churches, fire companies and volunteers.
LARRC will be recruiting "believers" to help turn the area around. Not just Shamokin, but in Coal Township, Kulpmont and Mount Carmel.
"You need positive people. We've got to get believers," Rebuck said. "I think it's so important that everybody works in the right direction. And you know what? It's contagious.
"When you think positive, that person will think positive," he continued, pointing about the room. "When you're surrounded by negativity that's the only thing you know. Look at the bright side. We can do it if we all chip in."
Rebuck thanked the city council members for their work, and noted the gesture from Coal Township commissioners earlier this year when they helped the city get a load of rock salt.
John Klembara, assistant fire chief of the Shamokin Fire Bureau, and Mike Barrett represented the West End during the meeting.
Mayor William D. Milbrand thanked both organizations, and he stressed a point that he's made often since he won the mayor's office in last fall's election: the public has to become involved and support city officials.
"We're only part of this," Milbrand said of city council. "We cannot do it alone. ... We need the true support of the community."