Hollywood Park officials are looking at a proposed new policy for the town’s swimming pool that could include a ban on alcohol and smoking around the pool and stronger enforcement on who enters the pool area.
But a longstanding issue regarding two local organizations leasing storage space at the Voigt Center remains unresolved.
At a meeting Oct. 19, Town Council members reached a consensus on a revision of rules for users of the Voigt Center pool.
Police Chief Shad Prichard said there has been an increase in complaints about unruly behavior at the pool, with most of the incidents involving adults consuming alcohol. Police received 60 such calls to the pool this year compared with 30 calls in 2020.
“We don’t want to tell citizens how to enjoy themselves. Our job is to make sure it’s a safe environment,” Prichard said.
According to town officials, having mainly teenaged lifeguards to monitor everything from swim safety to pool guests’ behavior can be a challenge for all involved.
As a result, town leaders have sought ways to help deter unruly behavior at the pool. Until recently, pool rules have only covered swim safety, especially for young children.
Aquatica Pool Management manages the Voigt Park pool. Company President Jason Cherry said his team will occasionally see a big group of visitors—some residents, some nonresidents—at the pool.
The issue, Cherry explained, is when those visitors stay a long time and drink alcohol. Cherry said there have been times when such users become combative or abusive toward the lifeguards who try to de-escalate a situation.
“The problem is when, periodically, there’s a large amount of people spending a large amount of time at the pool consuming alcohol,” Cherry said.
Council members agreed to pursue implementing the following rules:
- Each visitor must wear an entry wristband at all times.
- Maintain an entry log to include information on every visitors name, address and time of admission.
- Consumption of alcohol, smoking and vaping immediately around the pool area is prohibited.
Council members and city staff have also been discussing whether a pool entry attendant—someone separate from the lifeguards—would be more effective at the pool entry gate to ensure all visitors are complying with the new rules.
Cherry suggested having a pool entry attendant would help, but that in his experience managing other public pools, a security guard would be a better deterrent against misbehavior at the pool.
Town staff is due to return to the council in November with a formalized set of pool rules.
The council discussion about smoking and vaping at the pool has grown, with some town leaders wondering whether smoking should be prohibited within Voigt Park.
Some council members said they would be fine with banning smoking and vaping inside the park. Others suggested at least setting up a permitted smoking/vaping area in the park for those visitors swimming at the pool or attending a function at Voigt Center.
“My experience with smokers is that they’ll orient themselves to areas designated for them,” Town Secretary Patrick Aten said.
Also at the Oct. 19 meeting, council members could not agree on a proposed lease among the town, Hollywood Park Community Association and the local Hammerheads youth swim team for storage space at the community center.
HPCA, the Hammerheads and many residents expressed concern after the two organizations received a notice to vacate the space they had been using at the Voigt Center.
According to Mayor Oscar Villarreal, the town could no longer allow the two civic groups to use storage space at a town-owned facility for free. Some residents claimed the town was targeting the two groups, failing to see the service they have provided to the community over the years.
Town Attorney Ryan Henry drew up a proposed official lease in which the community association and the swim team would be charged a combined $2,850 annually for five years.
The town and the civic organizations could look at the lease every five years. According to the current proposal the lease amount would go up 3% every five years.
Council Member Sean Moore pressed for a slightly higher base amount to reflect the market rate of a similar amount of storage space in the Hollywood Park area. But other council members urged the town to be more flexible with the community association and swim team in terms of the base dollar amount, the programmed increase and time between each renewal period.