Wave of Support Brings Man's Dream of Restoring Pool Closer
How you can join the effort to get kids in the water -- and keep them off the street.
When Tyrone Zeigler was growing up in the Beaver Falls area outside of Pittsburgh, the Tigerland Wave Pool was a community gathering place. But even he will admit, that activity wasn't enough to keep him off the streets and out of trouble, which included some time in jail.
Now Ziegler has turned his life around and returned to his hometown to try and make a difference. And he's doing that by raising money to repair and reopen the defunct and decrepit Tigerland pool:
"I don't feel like I represented Beaver Falls the right way," he told Beaver County Radio . "This is my way to apologize for who I used to be and this is also a way to give these kids something to do so they don't choose the path I chose."
For the past 16 months Ziegler has been knocking on doors and lobbying businesses to raise money for the project. He recently got a huge boost in the form of a $50,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania , which will be used to do some major initial work, like replacing the pumps and fixing a steel beam under the pool decking.
Peeling paint has obliterated the Tiger mascots that used to be painted on the pump house.
The wave pool closed in 2003 because it need too many expensive repairs. Since then it's been empty, with peeling paint on the old pump house, and grass growing out of the cracks in the pool bottom. Zeigler and his business partner Ben Fenchak are working with the town's Community Development Corporation on the project to reopen it -- and getting lots of encouragement.
"A lot of kids parents don't have the money to take them on vacations, so this could be their Disney World." Tyrone Ziegler
Ziegler and Fenchak are hoping to break ground on the project this summer, and have the pool open by next summer. They've cut down on the expected cost of the project by getting donations of materials from local merchants.
Local merchants get a shout-out on the pool fence for their support.
They still need more funding, and you can help. You can donate to a GoFundMe page (click here) .
Or if you live in the area come out for two upcoming fundraisers: A Night at the Races on August 2, and a Bike Run on September 7. Click here to go to the Tigerland Wave Pool Facebook page for more details on both events.