Swimmers who buy the day pass for the Jack Florance Pool at Mingo Park may need to call ahead on hot days.
The YMCA, which operates the pool, did not issue passes for some of those pool-goers near the end of last week because of capacity issues. But members of the pool and the YMCA were admitted.
During a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, Parks and Natural Resources Director Ted Miller said safety is always the number one concern.
“(Capacity is) kind of a new issue,” he said.
The pool can handle about 300 people on its campus with almost half of them in the pool. There are 13 lifeguards, or one per 25 people. They have to make a judgment call when they cannot see the bottom of the pool.
“What we’re having problems with is people in the water,” said Jeremy Byers, the associate executive director of Delaware YMCA.
To alleviate overcrowding, daycare camps are reassigned to other activities to allow more members and day-pass admissions. The next step then is to halt day-pass admissions to allow capacity levels to decline.
“We had too many day passes the past couple days when it was 90 degrees,” Byers said.
Multiple solutions were discussed at the meeting, including to bar all admissions when capacity is high, provide the Delaware Community Center YMCA’s pool on Houk Road at the same price, and to build another outdoor pool.
Byers and Miller said there’s reluctance to turn Mingo pool and YMCA members away along with everybody else because they have already paid to use the facility.
“I would much rather tell somebody that’s not paid to get in yet that we’re not allowing people. They can come back later versus someone who’s paid their fee,” Byers said.
Board Chairwoman Allyson Lash agreed.
“If safety is obviously our number one goal, this is the correct cadence,” she said. “I think members of the pool are the last ones to turn away because they’ve already paid for their membership.”
Corie Thompson, the board’s newest member, said the conversation to construct another outdoor pool may need to be sooner.
Miller said a formal policy will be put in place in the near future.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.