Muncy Pool Celebrates 50 years
MUNCY – On Saturday, August 17 the Muncy R.J. Patrizio Pool will be celebrating 50 years with an open house at the pool site starting at 1 p.m. All former life guards, pool board members and swim team members are invited to come and help celebrate this golden anniversary. A photo opportunity is set for 4 p.m. for everyone who was ever involved with the Muncy pool over the years. A highlight of its history is captured from former news articles in The Luminary.
Checking the community pulse with the idea of putting a public pool in Muncy was assigned to a volunteer committee in late May 1960. Early that January, proponents of the idea began the first of four meetings. Architect Harold Bradley of Montoursville, and George Cruse a member of the State Planning Commission of Williamsport, prepared preliminary plans presented at the fifth meeting where community organizations and businesses were invited.
By August 1, volunteers were to gather input from the area as a whole. Assigned to the task were Wayne Frey, Robert Smith and John Coppes, aided by Dan O’Shea, Mrs. Henry Brock and H. Marshall Soars.
Canvassing began in May 1961 with information gathering sheets sent home with school students, supplemented with Boy Scouts taking literature door to door. Later, the newspaper announced Jaycees would distribute questionnaires and encouraged residents to let them in and take a few minutes to answer the questions. A two-day telephone answering service was set up manned by Coppes, Frey plus George Sauers, Ward Myers and Charles Pfleegor.
In Jan 1962, articles of incorporation were granted, a big step toward adding permanency to the movement. A month later, news headlines announced the 10 member board led by the president which read, “Dr. R. J. Patrizio takes big plunge.” The project got a shot in the arm when the Muncy School Board “looked with favor,” after viewing the plans.
Estimates to build were $40,000 with a $5,000 annual maintenance fee. A drive for membership was to defray annual costs.
The proposed pool site was the Myers elementary school grounds owned by the district. The question to lease or sell was approached. At a dollar a year for a period of ten years was proposed. A drive for funds tagged at $60,000 would be sought by canvassing the entire school district including Muncy and Muncy Creek townships. Patrizio was quoted as saying, “All is now in readiness, it’s up to the people whether or not we have a swimming pool for Muncy.”
On September 10, 1962, with Robert Smith campaign chairman, solicitations were to begin with a target amount being $30,000 or one half the amounts needed.
A news ad offered family membership of $100 stating banks would be the collection agencies which quickly garnered $5,400. Local organizations under girding the effort were the Rotary who pledged $3,000 over a three year period.
A short time later, more memberships came in totaling $1,500 plus the Jaycees pledged $1,500. Fundraising had reached fifty percent of its goal. Even with J & L contribution, they fell short by 70 family memberships; the fund drive was extended.
By late November with the goal still out of reach, a $100 donation came in from the “Muncy JC wives Association.” Patrizio commended the 15 member group which was only three months old.
By mid December with weather more conducive to skiing rather than swimming, a “conditional” go ahead for construction was announced. For the pool to open for the 1963 season, it was pivotal for plans to move forward.
The association did not seek government funds, but did need IRS approval for fundraising which they received through an announcement by Congressman Herman Schneebli. This made contributions tax deductible.
When Sprout-Waldron added $12,000 to the project, Patrizio said, “That put us over the hump.” It was the end of January 1963 when bids went out.
An election reinstated Patrizio as president. New names added as corporate members were Peter Somerville, August Toth, Roy Stieger, L. C. Williamson, Robert Miller, Jack Hester, Thomas Wood, Frank O’dell, and Dale Smith. At large members were Mrs. Wilbur Baskin and Mrs. Kenneth Herriman.
A contract for $52,500 was awarded to Amcrete Corporation of Mamaroneck, NJ. Local representative was Charles Pfleegor of Watsontown Mineral Products. J. H. Lucas and sons of Muncy built the bath house. In March 1963 architect drawings for the first time were made public. Without pomp and ceremony, ground was broken the week of April 18 and forecasted pool would be done in 60 days. In preparing for the opening, a flag pole and flag was donated by Roland Ritter Post #268, American Legion.
After missing the target day opening of July 1, 1963, swimmers reportedly squealed with delight as they jumped into the pool two weeks later on July 14. Dedication ceremonies were set for Sunday, August 4 with Ward Myers, supervising principal of Muncy Schools giving remarks.
Pool director George Sauers announced a newly formed precision swim group would be featured on Labor Day weekend.
In June 1976 when Dr. Patrizio retired from his private medical practice, the pool board surprised him by announcing the Muncy pool would be known as the ‘R. J. Patrizio Pool.’ Patrizio died in 1981 and when interviewed in 2003, Mrs. Patrizio said, “He loved people and was very sincere. It showed in everything he did.”