In deal, town reopens pool to summer camps

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The Town of North Hempstead and nine summer camps have reached a compromise to allow campers to swim in the town’s Manorhaven pool after the town revoked the camps’ pool passes last week.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the compromise “will balance the needs of the camps with the needs of the community.” 

For the remainder of the camp season, she said, “we will continue to allow day camps to use the pool from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. when the pool is closed to the public.”

The pool’s regular hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The town revoked pool passes due to the high number of closures due to hygienic problems in the pool and because camps were bringing more campers than permitted.

A total of nine camps’ passes were revoked, according to the town, affecting over 500 campers.

Originally, Bosworth said that the camps should use the Whitney Pond Pool and North Hempstead Beach Park as alternatives, but Donna Preminger, the executive director of the Port Washington Children Center, which bused three different camps to the pool, said that the Whitney Pond Pool was unsanitary. 

In an email to the children center campers’ families, Preminger said that the bathroom of the Whitney Pond Pool was covered in mold and that it isn’t safe for children. She provided pictures of the bathrooms, too, which featured black spots of mold on the floors.

“They want our children to use the bathroom and not the pool, but how are they going to use a dirty bathroom,” Preminger said in an email last week.

Camps applied for pool passes in January, Preminger said, and at the time, it was almost impossible to tell how many campers would be in the programs.

“We didn’t know we’d be exceeding the amount of campers permitted in January,” Preminger said.

During the weeks of July 18 and July 25, the pool closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to hygienic issues, Bosworth said. 

Each time, the pool was closed for  two to three hours. The incidents, Bosworth said, occurred in the pool’s camp section, not the area where small children swim.

Preminger said that the camps were falsely blamed for feces in the pool, and that it occurred in the evenings and on weekends when camps were not present.

“The children lost  a lot of their time at Manorhaven pool where they participated in a Red Cross Learn to Swim program,” Preminger said. “Banning our children has in no way fixed the problem; it has just created a larger one.”

Preminger said she was told that Bosworth will be forming a panel in September to address pool use for next summer.

“This lost time was an unfortunate inconvenience to our many resident pool goers,” Bosworth said. 

By Stephen Romano

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