Issues surface at Ephrata Pool

By on July 13, 2016

ER20140528_Cpool200Local residents addressed growing concerns at the Ephrata Community Pool during Monday night’s borough council meeting.

Lynn Reinhold, a long-time supporter and patron of the pool, said guests have been smuggling in alcohol. Other residents have noticed that some people disregard the authority of the lifeguards and the pool managers, and report that guards have been mocked and ridiculed while attempting to enforce rules. Pool members have also complained about people who ignore posted signs listing acceptable attire, use inappropriate language, engage in inappropriate behavior, and leave trash behind for pool staff to clean up. There seems to be a general disrespect for the facility itself.

“A 69-year-old patron witnessed a man punch a girl in the stomach Sunday afternoon as she was leaving,” Reinhold said, adding that the net result is that patrons do not feel safe at the pool, especially on the weekends.

“I was told I could quickly be given a list of 20 different members that refuse to come on the weekends due to prior incidents and the incidents that continue to occur,” Reinhold said. “Sunday, there were two different groups of patrons taunting each other, using offensive language and drinking.”

Reinhold explained that her purpose for coming to the meeting was to speak on behalf of the people that have memberships to the Ephrata Community Pool, and for the patrons that come to the pool on a frequent basis.

“The Ephrata Community Pool is a beautiful facility that serves as a great place for families and friends to hang out and enjoy the summer,” she said. “It’s a pool that Ephrata should be and continue to be proud of. My concern is that we need to keep this facility a safe and friendly environment for families. But at this point members are uncomfortable, fearing for their safety, and because of this many members are not spending as much time at the pool anymore. I have heard members say that if this behavior and the safety issues are not taken care of, they will not be purchasing memberships to the Ephrata pool next year.”

Former council member Bob Good was among those at the well-attended meeting.

“This is the Ephrata Community Pool, not the Ephrata Public Pool,” he said. “Our police officers do a fine job of helping to patrol the pool. But this pool and the intention of the pool has always been for the Ephrata community and the surrounding areas. This is a family facility and should be run as a family facility. I don’t think we should make it a public pool for just anyone just because they are willing to pay the admission. Other things we should consider is to start raising prices.”

Executive director of the Ephrata Rec Center, and by default the Ephrata Community Pool, Jim Summer noted that not all of the problems are created by visitors from out of town.

“It seems it has gotten a bit worse since the upgrade with some patrons not behaving,” he said. “Chief Harvey’s staff has been doing some training with our staff. But I don’t think raising rates is the answer, as it may punish those who behave and cannot afford it. We are exploring more options, including more member-only times.”

Mayor Ralph Mowan weighed in, saying, “I understand people saying it’s a community pool, but it’s a public pool too. We cannot discriminate against people for race, creed, color, etc. It does make it a public pool. The borough would be in a very tenuous position if we say this group is not allowed and that group is not allowed. We do not need to put the borough in a possible discrimination suit. The pool is for everybody, and we need to keep that in mind.”

Council member Tom Reinhold was active in guiding the project to rebuild the pool and remains an active pool supporter. He said he is concerned the situation may worsen unless there is a crackdown on those creating the problems.

“If they are giving us grounds for expulsion, then we should be expelling them,” he said. “Kids under 10 should be accompanied by an adult, and that’s not being done. I don’t like the behavior at all.”

After considerable discussion, Council President Sue Rowe referred the matter to Police Chief William Harvey and the Public Safety Committee for immediate consideration.

During a second opportunity for public comments, resident Mary Samuel noted that while it may have been a negative situation which brought people out, she found it quite positive to see so many people so passionate about their community.

“There’s a fire in their belly,” she said. “They love Ephrata, and they want it to be a place where families want to come, raise their families and feel safe. I’ve only lived here a year, but it is inspiring that people come to raise the bar to improve Ephrata. It is a great town, even though it is sad to hear what you are hearing.”

 

For additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit their website at ephrataborough.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your questions and feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

About Patrick Burns

Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

7 Comments

  1. Lena Fassnacht

    July 15, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Just some simple rules you may want to think about.

    * No coolers or backpacks
    * only clear bags allowed with a search.
    * no rolled up towels when entering
    * Any alcoholic beverages will be an automatic denial of future pool use
    * Any disrespect toward the staff or other patrons, you will be asked to leave. After 3rd time, you will be banned.
    * Charge less at the snack bar.
    * Raising prices won’t help. You already are not allowing a good part of the community the use of the pool.
    These are just my opinion. I have lived here all of my life. Changes are due and money is not always the answer.

    Unfortunately, this isn’t Good Ole Ephrata anymore.

  2. Jen Goodman

    July 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    When we lived in Lititz the police officers came into the pool walked around greeted the children. They did this 2 or 3 times a day all at different times. It gave our children a chance to know and respect law enforcement and also helped to keep incidents of bad behavior to a bare minimum.

  3. Dave Miller

    July 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I have to agree with Lena. Although I do think backpacks and coolers should be allowed but should searched upon entry. Raising prices, making it residents only won’t help.

  4. Holden Cox

    July 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I don’t care what they say. I swim better when I’m drunk, and nobody can stop me.

  5. Amy

    July 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    It should be a private pool period, people were coming from reading to vist. If they don’t live in the area, have them show their drivers license. I paid 210. I felt crowded no seats and they left trash and they cam hang out not swim

    • Shay

      August 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      I honestly know how you feel Amy. I resided in Reading and I can only imagine. It is not everyone that lives in Reading that does not have manners or housekeeping skills. I can relate to how you feel.

  6. Lena Fassnacht

    September 2, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I can’t believe how sloppy some have become. I walked past there a few weeks ago and saw two used diapers laying on the ground. Ephrata put a lot of money in to making the pool a nicer more modern place ro swim and this is how some people treat it? I hate to aay this but with the growth of Ephrata, maybe its time we make it a private pool.Towns and cities surrounding our town all have pools. It wont be like they are missing out. As far as taking police time to walk around the pool???? Why not give someone who is qualified, a job over the summer. Security is definatley a good idea. Our police are busy with other problems im our community. Let’s keep our pool as great as we can!

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