If all goes as planned, Greene County residents can look forward to a new swimming pool to open in time for the June 2020 swim season.
On Aug. 29, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Secretary John Norbeck and other state officials broke ground for a new swimming pool complex at Ryerson Station State Park.
“This state-of-the-art pool complex, coupled with major park campground renovations underway, are direct results of public input and participation centering on the future of Ryerson Station,” Norbeck said. “DCNR is committed to enhancing recreational opportunities here that benefit not just park visitors, but also surrounding communities and their economies here in Greene County.”
The pool area will be near the park’s old Pavilion 1, which was demolished to make way for construction. The estimated $9.6 million pool complex will include a slide, spray park and “zero entry” pool that gradually slopes from zero inches on one side to roughly 5 feet on the other.
The new pool’s parking lot will be located at the site of the old pool, and will be covered with more than 20 solar panel structures. This will not only allow visitors to park in the shade but also supply solar electric to power Ryerson Station operations, making it nearly energy independent. When open, visitors will be able to use the pool complex free of charge.
The Re-Vision Ryerson Station State Park Task Force, which formed to examine future park recreational opportunities, had called for swimming and camping improvements at Ryerson Station. Now nearing completion, campground renovations will include new shower facilities; three deluxe camping cottages; full hookups on seven campsites; and a newly paved road and redesigned entrance.
Park manager Alan Johnson said work is now underway on the foundation of the lower level of the shower house.
“Construction will include the building of three deluxe cottages, open year-round with full hookup of electricity, water and sewage,” Johnson said. “Because we’re converting to a more modern campground, we expect rental prices to differ from before.”
Beyond swimming and camping enhancements, the task force of park supporters, area residents, and state officials had suggested future park improvements to include hiking and biking trails, and stream restoration work addressing fish habitat and better access.
“We’re working on future projects that will restore the main stream (that runs through the park) and its tributaries for fishing and installing a multipurpose trail around the perimeter of the old lake shore,” Johnson said.
The park’s Duke Lake was drawn down in July 2005 for safety reasons after inspections of the dam revealed seepage and dam foundation movement. Replacement of a dam that created the lake is currently not possible because of continued ground movement and an unstable foundation, resulting in the DCNR withdrawing its permit application to rebuild the structure.
In April 2013, DCNR and Consol Energy Inc. settled a lawsuit related to the impact of longwall mining in the area on the dam. According to settlement terms, the commonwealth has no additional recourse against Consol for any movement or destabilization of the dam. Settlement funds will finance the estimated $9.6 million pool complex costs.
The 1,164-acre Ryerson Station State Park is open year-round. Winter activities include hiking and, with adequate snowfall, sled riding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. For more information, go to www.dcnr.pa.gov and search Ryerson.