Leetsdale won’t pay VFW for parking

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | 5:51 PM

Citing that there is plenty of free parking around the Leetsdale Splash Pad, borough council refused a request from VFW Post 3372 for $3,000 to pay for 30 parking places in its lot during the months of June, July and August.

“Plain and simple, it's too much money,” said Tom Belcastro, council president after the June 14 council meeting. “Ninety percent of the people who use the splash pad walk.”

The Leetsdale Splash was opened in 2009 and was largely paid for with grant monies. Since grant money was used to construct the water feature, no admission is charged by the borough. But because of high water bills, the water feature is open Thursday through Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.

The VFW post sits next to the splash pad in Henle Park. As a result, many of the splash pad users — some of whom don't live in Leetsdale — park in the VFW lot.

Like many VFW posts in Western Pennsylvania and across the country, the Leetsdale post is faced with a declining and aging membership. It relies on its canteen to stay financially solvent, which is not a problem during the colder months. The post said the $3,000 from the borough would keep it financially sound.

Tom James, the post's quartermaster, said in an email a couple of days before the June 14 meeting that the lot would be closed if the borough did not make a reasonable offer. James, who could not be reached for further comment, said the closure would affect the borough's July 4th celebration and any concerts held in Henle Park.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at selliott@tribweb.com, 412-627-9423, or Twitter @41 Suzanne