The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 16, 2012

Council gives rec group leeway to spend funds

David Hurst
dhurst@tribdem.com

WINDBER — Borough Council is forgiving a $35,000 loan it gave to the borough municipal authority in 2010 to oversee recreation offerings.

There is one catch: The funds must be used to improve Windber Recreation Park, the pool and community building, borough officials said.

The decision essentially gives the authority more discretion on what capital needs to address, and when, Borough Manager Fred Oliveros said Wednesday.

“Borough Council wants to see it put into addressing needs that come up,” Oliveros said, noting the pool and community building have ongoing needs. “There are general items that always need to be maintained, and this lets them do that without coming to us for approval.”

The municipal authority already has spent $15,000 of the loan on interior community center needs, including a new heating system.

Recreation Director C.W. Beckley said there has been talk of replacing the center’s lighting with new, energy-efficient bulbs.

“The idea is to use this money in ways that will either create new revenue or save money,” Beckley said.

Activities at the building such as Zumba, roller hockey and basketball also generate monthly revenue, he said.

The recently patched swimming pool is at the top of the needs list.

The municipal authority has been discussing pool upgrade options, including adding new amenities, for for some time.

Beckley said the authority is pursuing state grants that could be paired with existing funds further to stretch the money.

“Pool improvements aren’t cheap,” he said.

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