Adams Township group plans ‘Aquatics Community Center’
Derek Pyda Eagle Staff Writer
June 20, 2023 Last Updated: June 19, 2023 08:42 PM Local News
ADAMS TWP — The township’s community park is already a destination for many. Children enjoy time on the playground or cool off on the recently installed splash pad. Families take in a baseball or softball game, stroll on the walking trail, or set up a picnic. All of these activities occur, weather permitting, on a daily basis in the park at this time of year.
But the park and surrounding communities could be in for something bigger — much bigger.
A new aquatics center is being considered in Adams Township. Its construction could begin next year. Wallover Aquatics/Submitted Image
The township is finalizing a plan that would allocate enough land for an aquatics center to be built within its boundaries.
A nonprofit group, Adams Township Training & Aquatics Community Center, or ATTACC, was recently formed for the sole purpose of making that dream a reality.
“It would be an Olympic-size pool — 50 meters — and would be able to host everything from high school, YMCA, U.S.A. swimming and college meets,” said Todd Slobodnyak, executive chairman of the nonprofit group. “The rough estimate we have right now is that it would cost between $50 and $60 million. Adams Township is not vested financially in any way, but we now have one foot in the door when it comes to the land to build on, and that is normally a big hurdle in projects as big as this one.”
Slobodnyak, head coach of the swim teams at both Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA in Cranberry Township and Mars Area High School, said the project spawned from casual conversations several years ago.
In 2018, Adams Township surveyed its residents, asking them what they wanted to see in the coming years.
“The number one response was a pool,” Slobodnyak said. “Mars (Area High School) doesn’t have its own pool — we practice at the Y in Cranberry, but that’s just five lanes. We started having discussions with people in the area, playing with ideas and brainstorming. In 2021, we started having meetings, but there was still no organization to it.”
The nonprofit was formed last year. Well-versed in how the WPIAL and YMCA meets are run, Slobodnyak is obviously intrigued by what a complex in Adams would mean.
“This area really is a desert when it comes to Olympic-size pools,” he said. “There’s one at Pitt and one at Chartiers Valley High School (near Bridgeville), but it’s only six lanes. This past season, our YMCA district meet had to be held at SPIRE Institute in Ohio and the state meet was at West Virginia University.
“An Olympic-size pool can be adjusted to make 24 lanes for short-course swimming. At the high school level, Mars and North Catholic would be obvious teams who could use it. But Knoch has no pool and they could make use of it as well.”
But competitive swimming is just one activity on the large scale of what the proposed complex could provide. Slobodnyak said many such complexes that already exist include much space devoted to the medical field with doctors offices and suites.
“We’re looking at having a weight room with stationary bikes, treadmills, full-size basketball courts, a cafeteria,” said Slobodnyak. “And we want this to be a place open to the public, a place where an arthritis patient can come and receive hydrotherapy, soak in a hot tub. But also a place where a family can hold a kid’s birthday party. People from every walk of life will be able to benefit from it.”
Slobodnyak also pointed out that businesses in the area would benefit from such a complex.
“If this gets built and it ends up hosting a YMCA state or college meet, where are those people spending the night? Where are they eating? Hotels, restaurants, retail stores would all make money from it,” he said.
When it comes to footing the bill, Slobodnyak said there will be “many hands in the pot.”
“We are accepting donations, but our next step is to speak with local businesses and corporations to see what they would want out of such a place, how it could be of use to them. If they agree to join in, their financial investments will help pay for the construction.”
The complex is still only a vision. Whether or not ATTACC moves forward with the plan will depend largely on a feasibility study that will be conducted over the next six months.
“One thing the study will show us is whether or not that’s the right place to build and can the area support it,” Slobodnyak said. “Also, would we be able to include in the complex the wants and needs of people who would be using it … and what would be the day-to-day cost of running it? How much would the gas bill be, the electric bill? We have to be able to schedule enough events there to sustain it. Otherwise, it would become a money pit.”
Supervisor Darryl Brandon said that when the group approached them a few months back, their proposal matched a long-standing “vision” for the township.
“Our master plan has a pool as a potential project out in the future — there’s nothing definitive — so the idea is valid,” Brandon said. “What we’ve said is, ‘If you go forward … yes, we would be interested in providing land in the park for that type of facility.’”
Brandon said the township has a few potential locations in mind throughout the park, but the final location would depend on the results of the nonprofit’s feasibility study.
“The feasibility study will (help us determine) what size facility and how much land is needed — it could be anywhere from 5 to 10 acres,” he said. “Something like that, with parking.”
And while the township would allow the group usage of the land, Brandon said it would remain Adams Township property — with the nonprofit handling fundraising for the construction costs.
“Once again, it’s a vision,” Brandon said. “They’ve got a lot of good, quality professionals on their board who are going to reach out wherever they can — not just the swimming community, but businesses and so forth — to see if that’s a real opportunity for them.”
Work could begin as soon as next year, with the feasibility study anticipated to be completed by January, according to Brandon.
“I’ve met with them a couple of times, they’ve got a really good board set up,” Brandon said. “They’re all professionals — I think they have a pretty good chance.”