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Official on Pool: 'We've Been Having a Lot of Trouble'

Public Works Director Tom Henshaw told Borough Council July 2 that the Hellertown Pool has been plagued by everything from unruly children to thefts in recent weeks.

So far it's been a very hot summer, has been packed day after day, and there have been more than a few incidents there that are a cause for concern, Public Works Director Tom Henshaw told Borough Council July 2.

"We've been having a lot of trouble (at the pool)," Henshaw told council during his bimonthly report.

One of the main problems has been absentee parents who consider the pool to be a kind of "daycare," he said, adding that many of these parents appear to be "out-of-towners."

With pool attendance approaching 1,000 some days, there has also been a rash of thefts recently, Henshaw reported.

In one case, a woman with $50 in her purse left the bag underneath a blanket for five minutes, only to return and find her money gone.

"There was a lady sitting there with her children and when she came back the lady and her children were gone," Henshaw said.

Others have been caught smoking or bringing in prohibited items in coolers, in spite of the fact that the chests are supposed to be checked for glass and/or alcohol upon entry.

Mayor Richard Fluck, who said the massive crowds prompted him to request that borough police sweep the pool on weekends, questioned whether pool-goers should be allowed to bring their own food and drink into the facility.

"Isn't that (policy) taking money away from our refreshment stand?" he asked.

Henshaw said that years ago there was a prohibition on bringing food and drink inside the gates, but that was "way back."

The mayor also questioned whether or not all coolers are being checked.

One recent Saturday he observed a patron bring an unchecked cooler past the entry point, he said.

Council vice president John Bate said it's sometimes teenagers who are responsible for policing what's brought in, but Henshaw said that typically it's the head lifeguard who checks the coolers at the pool's side gate.

In light of the recent problems, Fluck--who contended that pool-goers from outside Hellertown are coming in by the busload--said council may have to consider charging non-residents higher prices at the pool in the future.

"Emmaus did," Henshaw acknowledged, referring to that borough's recent decision to charge non-residents as much as $18 to use its swimming pool.

"It's something we're going to have to look at," councilman Mike McKenna stated.

Borough Manager Cathy Kichline recommended that a thorough reevaluation of pool policies take place "over the winter."

In the meantime, she said, it should be remembered that the large attendance numbers are "a good problem to have."

Henshaw concurred, telling council that the snack bar at the pool has been mobbed by hungry swimmers, with daily receipts to prove it.

"They're lined up all day," he said. "I think one day we made more than $1,300."

Tina Olson-Wilkins July 11, 2012 at 05:47 AM
The important thing @anonymous is that the nonsense that you refused to address is actually turning residents away from purchasing season passes as they are over-burdened by some of the nonsense that occurs on busy hot days! How horrible is it that a public community pool excludes it's own tax-paying residents because even the mild price of a season pass might not be worth the Bull-Crap they have to deal with with under-supervising parents and groups of teens taking out toddlers. Madness is not a good investment!
Tina Olson-Wilkins July 11, 2012 at 06:04 AM
@Heidi I agree! Notice that my assessment for today was different. I know that football crowd and agree to talk to them and my kid who participates. Cool thing tho, last week A Moravian College foot ball guy named Alvin, totally sparked these kids. He played them in the proper field near the diving boards. My son's reaction was that he kicked all of our butts....but the MS football team present totally loved Alvin and even yelled "Alvin" like Dave from Alvin and the Chipmunks when he owned them. Don't forget your kid will be this age too. We try our hardest to wrangle our teens/tweens :)
Sam I am July 13, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I am not challenging the diversity of the pool, the community or anything else. I was merely making the point that it cannot always be the "out of towners" and it is pretty narrow minded of anyone who thinks it can't be any of the 100% saints that live in HLS. Raising to fees won't change the behaviors, throwing people out will. And if you "forgot" the phrase... why did you type it?
2labsinthehouse July 16, 2012 at 05:59 PM
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2labsinthehouse July 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
This is a public pool that is maintained by local taxes. Very simple...if you do not pay taxes to the Borough of Hellertown you pay $20 a day to swim at the pool. Borough council needs to get a backbone. This is not an ethnic debate but a pure resident vs non resident issue. And no non-resident children under 15 are allowed with out an adult. The splash pad is unnecessary and a waste of money. All it does is recirculate the slop coming out of the swimming diapers. And, who ever thought of swimming diapers...keep the kids out of the pool until they are toilet trained so I am not swimming in the slop! There is nothing wrong with pride in our town, many generations have paid taxes to keep it clean and safe. Don't let the freeloaders take it over!

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