June 13 – Three Chambersburg residents took to the microphone last night at the Borough Council meeting to talk about adult swim at the Chambersburg Aquatic Center.
In the past, about 15 minutes per hour were set aside for the lazy river and the vortex at the Aquatic Center for adults-only. The Recreation Department has done away with adult swim and it’s been a discussion both at borough council and the Rec Board.
Allen Coffman, borough council president, said, “It seems it appeared to me there’s really two issues there. One was the fact that they wanted to have the adult swim back. Part two of that and I thought it was very telling, was some question about discipline of some of the people that go to the pool.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “I think this is easily solved as I listened to them as well. Brign back the adult swim and then hold these kids accountable. Listen, you get one. And if you’re out of control, you get out. Throw them out of the park for a day. I’ll give you a warning. If you don’t want to heed the warning, empower those lifeguards or the people that are at that at that waterpark.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “But they won’t because we are giving consistently the message to young people that you’re on the same level as adults, there is no such thing as authority. You can defy all rules and laws.”
Ryan said, “Let’s see if we can reel it back in. Let’s start someplace. I’m not going to give up on this. Kick them out.”
Coffman said, “I agree. If the behavior is that bad, there needs to be a consequence. And just continuing to let it exist is not the right thing. So I don’t know where we’re going to go with this thing. Somehow I think we’re going to see more of it.”
There are cameras at the waterpark.
Coffman said, “I don’t know how many and I don’t know where exactly they’re located, but I think there’s certainly a chance to look at some footage and see what’s up.”
Ryan pointed out, “Let’s give some tools to the Rec Center. Let’s give some tools to the police. Let’s give some tools to the lifeguards. Here your kids acting like a jack you-know-what. Out you go and we’ll see you tomorrow. And if you do it again, we’ll see you the next day.”
The RAC (Recreation Advisory Committee) made the decision to not bring back the adult swim.
Ryan noted, “You guys on council can pull that whole decision out from under them. They decided no adult swim. The decision lies with the borough council though, doesn’t it?”
Coffman confirmed, “That’s exactly right. They are an advisory committee to council just the same as many other committees are.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll added, “They have the right to expel any patron for engaging in behavior that violates the rules. That can be anything from abusive or profane language to actually doing things they shouldn’t be doing in the pool. They could expel them as long as the rules are posted and all of the patrons are aware of the rules coming in. Council is going to have to get or the people that run the pool will have to get engaged in that because what’s going to happen is they’re going to scare away a bunch of just legitimate customers. Because once that atmosphere starts, it’s hard to correct it, so oftentimes best way to address it is to expel those violators immediately. On the adult swim issue, I’ve seen this issue with some other pools. This is a dilemma with public pools all over the place. Some towns have now gone to opening the pools one hour early for adults only, so they give adults a full one hour before it’s open to the rest of the public. Others have stuck with the model where once an hour or every 90 minutes, there’s a 15 or 20 minute break where everyone has to get out of the pool except for the adults. There’s no right or wrong way to address it, but it’s a controversy everywhere.”
Ryan said, “It seems like it seems like this is not going to go away. So what’s the next move to address it?”
Coffman said, “I don’t know. There were there were some short discussions last night amongst a couple of us. I don’t think the thing is over yet, either, and trying to look for some remedy here that is going to make the adults happy.”
“You mean the taxpayers,” Ryan reminded.
Coffman agreed, “Yeah, you’re right. The three ladies that spoke I believe are all borough residents. So whether they’re renters or whether they’re property owners, through their rent, through their property tax, they are paying for this pool. So they should have a voice.”
Jansen added, “I thought it was also telling, didn’t you say that one person made a public comment about a repugnant racial comment by one young person and I’m going to blame the schools and society for this this. This idea that somehow white people are privileged and she was ignored pointedly by this person who made the comment like I don’t have to listen to you and it seemed like because of the color of her skin, which I just find that really troubling that our young people are being given this terrible message.”
The entire meeting is recorded at https://newstalk1037fm.com/interviews/ to hear the comments.
Another issue at last night’s borough council meeting was the unexpected passing of council member Larry Hensley.
Coffman contacts Reverend Mike Sanders to help find people to do the prayer for every meeting.
Coffman said, “It really, really pleased me last night that he was the one that came to do the prayer because he knew Larry Hensley, our departed council member. I thought he did a fine job of praising Larry and as he put it, promoted to heaven, which I thought was kind of an interesting way to put that.”
The passing of a council member is relatively unusual – it’s only happened two times in almost 30 years.
A new police officer in training was sworn in last night, Ethan Crum.
Coffman said, “His home is actually in Maugansville, MD. He currently works for Tractor Supply in Hagerstown, MD, and he’s a high school graduate and has an associate’s degree in business administration, and a course of study in management. So he will be starting with a department actually this Wednesday, the 14th. If I’m not mistaken, I believe the next police academy starts sometime early in July.”
Council went into executive session last evening, but did not return to a meeting. The group discussed conditionally appointments for the police department.
Coffman said, “That will be all unveiled in our next meeting that comes up on the 26th of June. That’s our last meeting this month. So a lot of things going on for this last meeting already. We have we have the promotions for police department officers, but we also have to make a decision on Larry Hensley’s replacement. I think what will happen is there will be an advertisement that’ll be put out in the paper. They’re going to look for people who want to be appointed to that office. They will be appointed to the end of this year. They must be a resident of the Fourth Ward for at least a year. They must be at least 18 years old and they must be a registered voter.”
The process will take place on June 26.
Coffman said, “Larry was a great council member. He was only on for about a year and a half, pushing two years and he was a really active guy. Did a great job for us. He was committed and he will be missed.”