(Editor’s Note: What follows is the third installment of a summer long series examining Lebanon County’s community pools, which first appeared on Lebanon Sports Buzz in 2015.)
BY JEFF FALK
FREDERICKSBURG – When one operates an outdoor facility like Bethel Township’s Fredericksburg Community Pool, all he or she really wants is to see it used. That’s what it’s there for. That’s it’s purpose.
And if you invest your own personal time, energy or money into its maintenance and well-being, well then you become emotionally attached.
Converse with Terry Knapp for just a few minutes and one is left with the distinct impression that no matter how many residents visit the pool, it’s just not enough. But Knapp is genuinely concerned about the overall usage of the facility.
Knapp is a Bethel Township supervisor, a member of its recreation board, the community pool’s overseer and the facility’s one-time caretaker.
“It’s very important to me,” said Knapp. “It give me great satisfaction to see the pool being used. There’s nothing I enjoy more. I would say the concept of the community pool is on the decline. There’s a few around yet. But not as many as there used to be.
“I’m a little concerned about it,” continued Knapp. “If it turns into too much of a losing proposition, you have a hard time convincing people to spend money on it. It doesn’t take much care. We have good lifeguards. All in all, it’s a good thing, I just hope we can keep it going.”
Bethel Township’s Fredericksburg Community Pool, which is located at 124 Lions Drive, sells 100 to 115 season tickets per year. The facility, which is part of the Lions Club park, also offers daily passes and family passes.
“It depends if we have warm weather at the beginning of the season,” said Knapp. “It’s pretty local. It really fluctuates. This is an off-year. Last year was a good year. The previous year was a good year. The weather this year has been terrible. We’ve had rain and cooler days.
“They’re pretty active up there,” added Knapp. “The older people sit on chaise lounges and get sun. I think it is a gathering place. A lot of grandmothers bring their grand-kids there. They’re probably babysitting.”
The Fredericksburg Community pool was built in 1962. In 2005, it became the Bethel Township Community pool. Throughout the years, it has certainly seen its share of northern Lebanon County youth pass through its gates.
“It is old,” said Knapp. “Fifty-two years old. It’s seen better days. We’re going to keep it going as long as we can.
“Yeah, I used to swim there,” Knapp continued. “When my kids were smaller, we would go up there ourselves. And I was involved with the upkeep of the pool. My kids spent everyday there growing up. A lot of kids grew up there. It gives a lot of kids something to do. That’s the idea, give kids something to do. Some kids go up and spend the whole day there.”
Times have changed since the Fredericksburg Community Pool first open. But does that mean time has passed it, and others like it, by?
“As we all know, kids have so many more things to do today,” said Knapp. “Back then, it was the center of their summer activity. Now it’s a fringe activity. I think it’s changed into something they do less frequently.
“It is what it is,” added Knapp. “We were limited in what we could do when we were kids. Now they’re busy doing what people want them to do.”
In addition to zumba lessons, Bethel Township’s Fredericksburg Community Pool also features splash parties. Up until this season, the pool had offered swim lessons, something Knapp would like to see return as soon as possible.
“Exercise is very important,” said Knapp. “I don’t think you can beat swimming. It’s a terrific way to get exercise. As you get older, you’ve got to find easier ways to exercise.
“To me, it’s a positive thing,” concluded Knapp. “It’s very positive. It’s done a lot of good things for a lot of kids. Occupying kids’ time is a good thing.”
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