Work on Aquatorium in Monongahela Begins

Valley Independent - 5 June 2011
By Jeremy Sellew

The facelift on the Noble J. Dick Aquatorium in Monongahela is finally ready to get under way.

The fixture on the Monongahela riverbank was created in 1969, in preparation for the city's bicentennial celebration.

It has been the center of the city's Fourth of July celebrations as well as carnivals, car shows, fishing contests, and a multitude of other events and functions.

Monongahela Mayor Bob Kepics has been a supporter of the project, which has been a staple of his mayoral tenure.

The city has $1.2 million in funding for the project.

Residents of the city and surrounding communities who visited the site Memorial Day weekend welcome the project.

"This is the first time I've been down here," said Charleroi resident Brian Presock. "It's beautiful down here and there's not as much (river) current like in Charleroi."

Fishing on a hot afternoon, Presock and companion Patricia Henderson said they will continue to frequent the "aquatorium."

Rob and Shelly Harpley, of South Park, are frequent visitors to the 200-foot concrete platform that juts into the river.

"We've been coming down here for years," Shelly Harpley said. "I like that we can do this."

The Harpleys and Jason Kreminsky of Bethel Park like the area, and think that it has the potential to be the great attraction that it once was.

"I know they used to have a big festival up in the parking area every year," Shelly Harpley said. "It's close to home and would give people from all around something to do in the area."

The plans for the new "aquatorium" also include a plan for a skate park to be built adjacent to the parking area.

The visitors hope the planned skate park will help deter vandalism of the revamped facility.

"They'll definitely have to watch the vandalism," Rob Harpley said. "There are little things though, like garbage cans down here (on the platform).

"We clean up after ourselves, but a lot of people don't. Sometimes there's garbage everywhere and after a flood, there is driftwood all over the place."

With the plan, council and Kepics hope to turn the area back into the gem on the Mon that it once was.

The project, which includes new aluminum bleachers, new lighting, and updated storm sewers was pushed back after council received bids that were found to be "unsatisfactory" by city officials said.

"We have the new bids coming in, so we're looking to start within the next week or so," Kepics said."

The new aluminum bleachers will be red, white, and blue to replicate the American flag, similar to the old wooden bleachers. Council added the aluminum bleachers should be able to withstand punishment from high water when the river rises.

Jeremy Sellew can be reached at or 724-684-2667.