The shuttered Ligonier Beach could open to the public once more this summer, but visitors shouldn’t plan on bringing their swim trunks just yet.
Ligonier Township in November bought the landmark swimming pool and restaurant along Route 30 just east of Ligonier from Sherry and Steven Kozar, for $230,000. This week, township supervisors hired an architect and appointed a committee to come up with a preferred plan for redeveloping the site.
After more than 90 years in operation, the attraction remained closed for the 2018 and 2019 summer seasons after flooding damaged pool pumps and the restaurant’s furnace.
“We’re moving forward to work with an engineer, to talk about a development plan by April and renting out pavilions for Memorial Day,” said Terry Carcella, township manager.
Supervisors named EADS Group as their engineering consultant for both the Ligonier Beach project and for other general township needs. The firm replaces Markosky Engineering, which passed on further work with the township.
EADS will be paid $125 for each township meeting attended. The township also will pay an hourly rate ranging from $123 to $133, depending on the staff member assigned and the type of work performed.
Grants of $250,000 from the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation and $136,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources covered the property purchase and will provide enough “to get started with cleanup and development,” Carcella said.
He said the committee, working with the architectural consultant and receiving technical assistance from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, will look to develop a master plan for Ligonier Beach, weighing options for turning it into a viable township park.
Yet to be determined is the cost of rehabilitating and reopening the pool, which was temporarily filled in June for filming of an independent feature about the sinking of the Titanic.
“It held water for the filming, but it has major cracks,” Carcella said. “The pump building is shot and needs to be demolished.”
He doesn’t expect the pool will be ready this summer. “There’s no way we could prepare for that,” he said. “It’s going to take us three to four months to put a plan together.”
Crews recently removed 10 dead trees from the site, but not before one damaged a pavilion.