Residents Hoping to Save Local Pool

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 07/22 2014 11:45PM

Updated 07/23 2014 12:08AM

Bellefonte residents and others who go to the pool at Governor's Park are working to get support to save Kepler Pool.

The pool is over 40-years-old which is creating some roadblocks for renovations.

"It's tired," says Howard Long, the YMCA of Centre County's President and CEO.  "It desperately needs a face lift."

From a leaky slide, to a closed kiddie pool that's no longer up to code and outdoor changing rooms, Kepler Pool hasn't seen many updates since first opening in 1971.

"It can be negative for the revenue aspect of it but it can be a positive in the sense that we know we need to make changes for the swimming pool," says Long.

Due to how old the pool is though, it no longer qualifies for renovation grants.

"They're coming to the municipalities and ask for each municipality to consider a head tax," says Ralph Stewart, the Bellefonte Borough Manager. 

That tax would be around $10 a year, per resident, living in Bellefonte Borough, Spring Township, Walker Township and Benner Township. So far, only Bellefonte Borough has agreed to add the recreation tax.

Residents living in the area who access the pool say it is an asset the area needs to keep.

"It's sort of a nucleus of the community for the summer time," says Barbara Rossman, a Kepler Pool member who has children on the swim team.  "There's really nothing else for the kids or families to do so it's a great opportunity to spend time with your family."

"It's the only safe area for kids to go for swimming in the summertime," adds Long, the YMCA President.

Grey Rockey is on Kepler's swim team and has going to the pool since he was 4-years-old.  Now, 13 years later, he says he hopes younger children have the chance to grow up at the swim club too.

"[I am] just hoping they kind of get what I got out of it," says Rockey.  "They start to fall in love with swimming as much as I did and they keep it up and then they come back every year, expecting it to be just as fun, or more fun, than the last."

If funding approval doesn't come through, the friendships and memories made at Kepler will all end and the swimming pool will close their gates for good at the end of next month.

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