Park Board, citizen committee are working on how to save the Harrisburg pool

</element><element id="paragraph-1" type="body"><![CDATA[Harrisburg Township Park Board and the Save the Pool Committee are wrestling with how to keep the pool open another year and raise money for another pool, or to refurbish the existing pool.

The board and committee reconvened Wednesday morning after an Oct. 27 public forum on the problem. The park pool, built in 1965 is nearing an unusable state. Either the pool's days or numbered or an expensive refurbishing must take place. Park Board member Ron Emery offered a tentative guess of $750,000 to refurbish the pool properly and at least $2 million for a new pool.

The Save the Pool Committee stands ready to raise money or support a referendum, but they need a clearer idea of how to proceed, committee member Melonie Motsinger said.

"We're going to move forward, but they are waiting to hear from the Park Board on their direction," Motsinger said.

Emery said the board will try to get an inspection firm to look over the pool and get a better idea of what refurbishing will cost. More exact figures are needed to submit a bond referendum to taxpayers. Much like an individual loan, a taxing body can't get a bond without a good idea of how much money is needed for the bond project. Plus, taxpayers need to know what to expect when they are approached by the committee or the board.

"We all need to hear the same thing at the same time," Emery said.

Emery would like to see the committee put together a fund-raising proposal in writing in order to see where the group stands. Susan Russell, chairman of the Save the Pool Committee, said the group can come up with something in writing tonight during their committee meeting.

The Save the Pool Committee can put together $10,000 to keep the pool open one more summer while other options are explored, Russell said.

"We realize this is a Band-Aid until we can replace the pool," Russell said.

Committee members said they are worried people won't support a fund-raising effort if the pool closes because they will think the closure is a foregone conclusion.

The committee would like to see a referendum on the April election ballot. If that is not possible, Russell suggested the board and committee aim for a November 2009 voter referendum.

Any bond referendum would involve voters in Harrisburg Township, which includes the city of Harrisburg and its surroundings. Anyone whose property tax bill indicates they pay money to the Harrisburg Township would vote in such a referendum.