Membership has its benefits…now more than ever at the Ephrata pool

By on March 7, 2018

Incentives added as rates rise for the upcoming season here

Pass holders to the Ephrata Area Pool will find their rates have gone up by about five percent for the coming summer season.

Borough Council is expected to approve the new rate structure, which was unveiled at their work session this week, at their March 12 meeting.

Along with the rate changes, the pool plans to institute a few new incentives for pass holders, including expanding the “members only” pool time an extra hour, making it 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays, double the time of last year’s ‘members only’ swim time.

A picnic for those with pool memberships will also be held at the end of the season.

Jim Summers, executive director of the Ephrata Recreation Center, attended Monday evening’s council meeting to give input regarding the rate changes.

Addressing problems

Discussion also centered on problems the pool has been experiencing in recent years regarding visitors’ behavior, including inappropriate actions, littering, foul language, disregarding lifeguards’ instructions, and bringing contraband into the area.

Last year, the Community Services Committee of the borough council considered changing the pool regulations to a “members only” status, and dropping day passes.

“It seemed that day passes (visitors) were causing more problems than members,” said Councilman Victor Richard.

But that move could also have had a significant effect on the pool’s income.

This coming year, price increases had been already planned to deal with increasing costs, said Councilman Gregory Zimmerman, and it is believed the higher prices might deter some people from bad behavior.

“We’re going to try to deal with the structure we already have and try to make it work,” Zimmerman said.

Same as last year, an armed constable will be on duty during the weekend operating hours of the pool to keep the peace.

The pool opens at 11 a.m. on the weekends, and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

Mayor Ralph Mowen commented that the constable on duty needs to be seen, and be walking around, so that pool goers know an officer is on duty.

“The constable needs to be visible and be able to act, to remove someone if need be,” Mowen said. “With that, I think we’re on the right road.”

Councilman Thomas Reinhold wanted to know if the pool managers are allowed to give direction to the constable.

“We do talk about that,” Summers said.

Even with a constable on the grounds, Richard said, it might not be enough to affect change.

“What are the changes this year?” Richard asked. “I don’t think we’re addressing the issue.”

Summers disagreed.

“We are addressing the issues,” Summers said. “Two years ago, you could feel the tension (at the pool), and it’s better now.”

Summers defended the plan to continue having an armed constable patrol the grounds on weekends.

“Whenever you have 1,000 people together, you’re going to have a certain percentage of knuckleheads,” Summers said. “But they have armed security guards at football games and at the Farm Show, too.”

While Summers wasn’t sure who has been hired at this point, the administration of the rec center is searching for lifeguards and other staff who may be older than teens in prior years, hoping for increased maturity and confidence when dealing with miscreants.

Member responsibility

Regarding identification for day pass visitors, Summers said nobody is asked to show photo I.D., instead they simply sign in.

Checking everyone’s photo at the gate would be cumbersome and time-consuming, increasing lines to get in to the pool area, Summers added.

Councilman Thomas Reinhold noted that if someone was “acting up,” they probably wouldn’t agree to showing their photo identification after being told to leave, anyway.

Discussion also centered on members’ responsibility for guests they bring to the pool, and the members’ accountability if their guests created problems.

“What is the responsibility for guests that you bring in?” Reinhold asked. “Are people going to behave better if they have a stake in who’s with them?”

Responsibility for visitors rests on the members who bring them, but members won’t face consequences if their guests become unruly.

Prices for the upcoming season are: Pre-school residents, $38; pre-school non-resident, $50; pre-school day pass, $4; pre-school with member, $4.

Student resident, $80; student-non-resident, $100; student day pass, $10; and student with member, $8.

Adult resident is $121; adult non-resident, $146; adult day pass, $13; and adult with member, $11.

Family resident will be $220; family non-resident, $270; senior resident, $92; senior non-resident, $113; senior day pass, $6, and senior with member, $6.

Event ordinance

In another matter, Anthony Kilkuskie of South State Street said he had concerns about the borough’s proposed event ordinance.

“What’s the motivation behind it?” Kilkuskie asked.

Borough Manager D. Robert Thompson said the borough’s Special Projects Committee had been working on a food-vendor permit ordinance and decided to draft a more inclusive special events ordinance that would address the permitting process.

The ordinance is for public gatherings if those events require a street closure, or a PennDOT permit to use borough streets, or if alcohol will be on the premises, Thompson said.

In the event of any of those, the event would require borough council approval.

The ordinance is moving toward approval, but hasn’t been adopted yet.

“I was concerned that it would squelch people who want to have an event, but it doesn’t sound as onerous as I thought,” Kilkuskie said.

Ephrata Cares

In other business, Mayor Ralph Mowen informed council of an event planned by Ephrata Cares and Shawn McNichol of the RASE Project.

Ephrata Cares, a group of volunteers and professional business people, have joined to address the opioid problem in the borough and surrounding areas.

The group plans to hold a public event the third Saturday of every month.

On May 19, a Recovery Walk will be held at the Thomas P. Grater Community Park, along with a Recovery Event, Mowen said.

Food vendors will be on the grounds and all activities are free.

Because Ephrata Cares is not a registered organization, they don’t have insurance so organizers are asking the borough to sponsor the event, under the borough’s insurance.

The group is also planning a movie night on July 21 at the Ephrata Recreation Center.

The Mayor also cited statistics to council on the severity of the drug problem in Ephrata, indicating the police force administers more Narcan than most other county departments’

“We were one of the first departments to roll out Narcan and have trained officers to give it, and we are making a difference,” said Police Chief William Harvey.

Harvey provided statistics Tuesday that showed in 2017 the department had 28 Narcan cases, with 19 of those being in the borough. Additionally there were seven death by delivery investigations.

Thus far in 2018, they have had four Narcan cases, with two in the borough and are engaged in three death by delivery investigations. The statistics also showed there have been two overdose deaths in the past 10 days.

In another matter, the American Red Cross will be going door-to-door in the borough on Friday, April 27, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to install free smoke alarms and provide fire safety information.

One Comment

  1. Rick Plowmaker

    March 7, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    So,. Really NO CHANGES will be made because pool profit IS KEEPING THE ENTIRE RECREATION CENTER AFLOAT. NOT figuring out who THE outsiders are is ridiculous. You could put Donald Trump and you will get in… NOT ENOUGH INCENTIVE TO WASTE MONEY AT HOME. SAD we can’t figure this out.

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