Plagued with maintenance issues in recent years, Kepler Pool in Bellefonte may soon get some relief.
The Nittany Valley Joint Recreation Authority is in the process of applying for a $300,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that would help fund the necessary maintenance work, along with contributions from four municipalities: Spring, Benner and Walker townships and Bellefonte borough.
“We just reached the point where we have been putting Band-Aids on this thing for it seems like forever, and we just can’t continue to do that,” Mike Bonchak, NVJRA president, said.
Bonchak said the about $600,000 project is needed to rebuild the 46-year-old pool’s “old and tired” infrastructure, which includes the pumps, lines, filtration system, liner and decking around the perimeter of the pool.
Last summer, he said the pool came very close to having a chlorine leak after a check valve failed. A hazardous material crew had to come out, but fortunately the incident didn’t result in any injuries or environmental issues.
An important part of the grant application is proving that there’s community support for the project. Bonchak said the authority has received letters of support from state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven; Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township; and the Centre County Board of Commissioners.
On average, Kepler Pool welcomes about 7,000-10,000 visitors each summer.
The authority will likely know if it gets the grant a few weeks after the application deadline, which is in early April.
Regardless, the pool has enough revenue to operate this year and will open around Memorial Day, Bonchak said.
“If the grant application is unsuccessful, then we have a lot of hard decisions to make,” he said.