The Chambersburg Aquatic Center is back in the spotlight at borough council

August 1 – At last night’s Chambersburg Borough Council meeting, residents stepped up to the mic to once again talk about the Chambersburg Aquatic Center. 

Talk of adult swim was back. 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 since done away with adult swim and some residents are not happy with that decision.  

Thongs were also discussed. 

Apparently there are no rules for people wearing thongs at the pool. 

Allen Coffman, borough council president, said, “I guess some years back we may have done that, but since then they’ve removed that I guess from the verbiage of it. The reason why is under state law. You can wear pretty much what you want to at a swimming pool. It’s not prohibited. It’s one of those freedom things. Actually, somebody could show up maybe with less than that on and it’s not forbidden. It’s only when it becomes involved with sexual activity is where you run into problems. So what people see at the pool, no, they might not be using the discretion that we’d like to see, but it’s hard to forbid somebody from doing something like that. We’re within the limits of the law and that’s where we want to be.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “We can run into some real huge problems here, though, with the idea of identifying as a male or female. Now, it’s not here, but in other locations, you’ve had females deciding oh, I’m identifying as a boy, wearing no top when they’re very obviously female. I almost feel like you’re saying you can show up naked. Nobody can do anything about it. With the weird, odd way we’re starting to use identity to define all kinds of behavior, protected identity now, you could literally have people showing up in a clear plastic bathing suit.” 

In addition, there is some question as to whether the camera system is working as it should at the pool. 

Coffman said, “I fully intend to go back and check that one out to see what’s going on. We were quite clear to the management of the pool that if they decide they want to expel somebody or take their privileges away for the rest of this year, we’ve quite frankly told them yes, we will support your decision. So I expect some things to happen. They’re not to put somebody out for half a day or a day but we need to make it meaningful and I hope that’s happening.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This adult swim issue is always a controversy at any swimming pool, public or private, seems like this is always a problem. One of the solutions I’ve seen over the years is that the pool might open 30 or 60 minutes earlier for just the adult swim only, otherwise they need to carve out windows during the day where the pool is cleared out for adults to swim. The bathing suit issue is interesting because I do believe other municipalities have bathing suit ordinances. But this is one of those things that’s very subjective. The language I’ve often seen with municipalities is that you must have a bathing suit or proper attire that would not warrant indecent exposure. Well, again, that’s very open to interpretation. The comments I heard from that resident last night, she’s certainly suggesting some people at the pool are wearing very inappropriate attire that might get to the level of an indecent exposure charge, but again, that’s very subjective depending on who’s enforcing these rules.”

Jansen said, “I did look at exactly what Chambersburg has. It says all park patrons must wear appropriate attire. So appropriate again, hugely vague term. It does say nudity is prohibited. At the very end they do say that all these rules are subject to change when deemed necessary. I think that should have been brought up as a separate issue instead of mixing it in with the adult swim stuff.”

Barkdoll agreed, “It really is two different issues. There’s the adult swim issue and then to the extent someone feels that the attire rules are not being enforced, that’s a separate issue. But this adult swim, I don’t know how the burro solves it other than the two solutions or suggestions that I threw out. That’s what I’ve seen other pools do to address this and I think the council’s got a real dilemma on its hands with this.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “Alan was awfully generous with the time and the person that was making the remarks and the group that is making the remarks. But at some point, though, we are at an impasse and if you want to go to either the Rec Department, which I think they’ve gone to, or we go to a separate council meeting, you start tying these meetings up with the same issue over and over and over and we’re not getting anywhere. They’ve got a dilemma on their hands, but how do you save the meetings, so to speak, have thoughtful conversation, try to move the thing forward. But at some point, we can’t take up to 10 minutes every single meeting because you’re pissed off about adult swim. Or can you? 

Barkdoll said, “No, you’re right. I thought Alan did a very good job trying to manage that last night. He was very open to allowing this resident to speak, gave her more time than people would normally be granted because it just gets to the point council gets the issue. I mean, how much can they beat this dead horse before the argument itself starts to lose traction? So again, Alan, I thought his chair really did a good job of balancing all of that last night.”