The City of Allentown’s plans for Irving Pool at Andre Reed Park are getting a $250,000 grant boost from the state.
The money comes from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
Irving is the city’s oldest swimming pool. It is reaching the end of its useful life.
The City will complete the master planning process in 2018 for Andre Reed Park and hopes to secure additional funding for the pool and begin construction in 2019.
The proposed project costs just under $1 million and includes site preparation and demolition, a new pool, spray equipment, filtration and chemical systems and decking. It involves demolishing the 78 year old concrete swimming pool and replacing it with a recirculating spray pool that features zero depth entry, a transition to three (3) foot deep wading area and water features that accommodate children from young children to teenagers. The WPA-era pool house will also be made fully accessible by adding ramps up to and out of the building.
The spray pool will use a recirculating system that sanitizes, filters and re-uses water. Rain gardens will be planted near the macadam parking area.
State funding for these types of projects comes from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund and other sources of state and federal funds.
The City is also receiving a $25,000 grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program to prepare a Master Site Development Plan for Percy Ruhe Park on Oxford Drive.
Percy Ruhe Park, also known as Alton Park, is the subject of ongoing challenges and complaints due to its inability to properly host athletic events. Parking is non-ADA compliant and there is no proper wheelchair access within the parking area, to/from the athletic field, and within the park.
The City continues to host summer basketball league games at Percy Ruhe Park that draw hundreds of spectators. The park is not equipped to accommodate them in regard to parking, concessions, and other amenities.
A small pavilion is available for rental, and the park also features four baseball/softball fields, three football fields, three lighted basketball courts, restrooms and a playground. This park hosts many athletic leagues, both youth and adult, and frequently hosts weekend tournaments and games for local organizations.
The Master Plan would focus on renovating the park into a modern, full-scale athletic complex. Renovations will include addressing the current parking challenges (non ADA compliant), poor condition pavilion, field size, non-operable concession stand, and an overall better use of space.
The estimated $50,000 cost of the plan requires a $25,000 match from the City.
The City completed renovations at Stevens Park this year. The master plan for Valania Park is nearing completion, allowing the City to seek funds for design and construction documents. The City’s first Dog Park will open on Dixon Street come spring.