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Alpha hears ideas for old borough pool property

By Brittany Foster, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Jun 25 2013 11:21:51 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 26 2013 07:57:10 AM CDT
ALPHA, N.J. -

The Borough of Alpha may soon to be home to a new skate park -- created from an abandoned pool.

The Borough of Alpha council heard from individuals representing different plans for the old pool area at their meeting on Tuesday night.

The pool has been vacated since the borough determined it was financially unsustainable seven years ago.

Borough council must make a decision on the property by August.

The first plan they heard this week came from Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) Local #56. PBA offered free labor and low material costs to restore the pool.

They were unable to provide an exact quote of their work, but said they would donate many of the renovation costs in order to keep the pool running.

Mayor Edward Hanics mentioned the latest quote they had received to have the pool renovated came in around $500,000.

Councilwoman Schwar noted her hesitance to support their initiative because of the short period of the year that the pool would be open.

Other councilmen detailed the renovations that would be needed, including replacing the skimmers and making repairs to the pool building.

Councilman Schwar stated that his decision would be based on the least cost to the borough in the long run.

The next presentation came from Eric Hornung of Hornung Architects and Andrew Po of Homebase Skateshop in Bethlehem. Both were actively involved in the creation and maintenance of the Bethlehem Skate park.

Hornung and Po volunteered their time to draw up preliminary plans of what a skate park in Alpha at the former pool site would look like.

They stated that the site would be a lot easier than the work they did in Bethlehem because the excavation was already done where the pool structure currently sits, and the site already has parking and bathroom facilities.

Their skate park renovation plan would cost an estimated $225,000, but Po highlighted the extensive use of the park compared to a pool.

The Bethlehem skate park sees activity for nine to 10 months of the year, while the pool would be open for three.

Responding to councilmen who had said that the skate park only services a small minority of the population, Hornung said that the average age for skaters ranges from 13 to 40 and at 36, he still uses the skate park.

Council did not make any decision at the meeting, but agreed to spend the next two months considering the plans and acquiring better cost estimates for each plan.

Councilman Dunwell stated that his choice would be based on the hard cost, and the entire council appeared open to reviewing both of the options currently on the table.