Bowling Green city pool

Park fees to increase, but pool rates treading water for now

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Park fees will likely increase next year – but the city’s park and recreation board agreed Tuesday to not dive into rate hikes at the pool just yet. The board voted to raise rates for several park programs and facility usage by 3 percent. Excluded were programs that are already at the top that the market with bear. There will be no increase to membership fees at the community center, and a lower non-profit rental rate is being introduced. The proposed rate increases will be reviewed and acted on by City Council in October. Also on the list for proposed fee hikes were daily and season pool passes. But park board chairman Jeff Crawford asked that the proposed increases at the pool be studied further. He spoke about his wife’s experience teaching at Crim Elementary School, where a portion of the student body is lower income. Crawford said he would like to wait and see the summer statistics at the pool to see if it’s necessary to raise fees for kids using the facility. Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department, said families can get discounted passes. “I get that, but the parents don’t generally reach out for that,” Crawford said. Board member Jodi Anderson echoed that concern. Otley said that operating the pool is expensive. “Our expenses go up every year,” she said. The total revenues and expenses for this past summer aren’t available yet. The year was a good one for the pool – with attendance up by nearly 7,000. Labor Day weekend alone saw attendance of 1,598 at the pool. But those good years are needed to cover for bad years, Otley reminded. “I get what you’re saying,” Crawford said. However, he sees it from a different perspective, he explained. “If we’ve done well, we don’t need to raise them.” Crawford asked that while the other fee increases be passed on to City Council for approval, that the pool rates remain unchanged until after the board sees the numbers for this past summer. “I would feel more comfortable acting on this,” after viewing that information, he said. The board agreed. Recommendations call for a 3 percent increase in family pool passes, raising them by $4.50. The daily fee increase would be 25 cents. The rates were last raised in 2017. The proposed pool fees for daily admission…


BG twins rescue toddler from deep end of hotel pool

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The 6-year-old twins are unlikely heroes. The two blond boys, in their matching swimsuits, rescued a toddler who jumped in the deep end this past weekend at a hotel pool in Florida. The twins – Bryant and Peyton Switzer – who are taking swimming lessons this week at Bowling Green city pool, talked about the rescue before their class started on Tuesday morning. “Pretend over here is the shallow end,” Bryant said pointing to the city pool. “She was just playing in it.” But then the 3-year-old took off her water-wing flotation devices and jumped in the deep end. The boys were old enough to realize she needed help. “He jumped in and put his arm around her,” Bryant said of his brother, Peyton. “Then he gave her to me, and I got her out.” The little girl was frightened, but the twins stayed calm. “She was a little scared when she was in the deep end,” Bryant said. The boys’ mom, Amy Walters, of Bowling Green, said they had gone to Orlando, Florida, for a work trip. The twins were in the hotel pool with Walters’ fiancé, D.J. Dieter, when the incident occurred. “She had seen the big boys playing and splashing around,” and apparently wanted to join in, Walters said of the little girl. “They didn’t even think twice. They went into action,” Walters said. “We’re very proud of them.” The toddler’s mom expressed her thanks to the young heroes. “The mother was extremely grateful,” Walters said. The boys, she said, are very comfortable in the water. “They are little fish. They’d live in the water if you’d let them,” Walters said. Mia Schempf, the twins’ swimming lessons teacher at BG city pool, said the boys are strong swimmers for being so young. “They are super smart kids,” she said. It just happened that last week, one of their classes focused on water safety. “We teach them safety in and around the water,” Schempf said. “It’s awesome they were able to save someone.” After Monday’s swimming class, the boys’ bravery was recognized by State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who presented Bryant and Peyton with certificates honoring their heroism.


BG pool has ‘number two’ shut down this season

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last week, as the weather was sweltering and people were flocking to the pool for comfort, the Bowling Green city pool had to shut its doors. This was not the first time for the unexpected closure, according to Kristin Otley, director of the city parks and recreation department. “No, that was number two,” she said. “No pun intended.” The latest fecal incident occurred Wednesday, when a teenager with special needs had an accident. The consistency required that the pool be closed into Thursday, Otley said. In the summer of 2013, the city pool experienced several fecal accidents which required the aquatic facility to close. It was then that the term “poopetrators” was coined to label those responsible. The closures created frustration for pool patrons and staff, plus cost the city an estimated $5,000 in revenue. Otley said the incidents so far this year appear to be purely accidental. The first involved an infant wearing a swim diaper, which leaked. Last week’s also appears to be accidental, she said. “Obviously, we never want that to happen,” but occasionally it appears unavoidable. Wednesday’s incident happened to affect a lot of people since it was such a hot day, she added. How the pool staff handles the incidents depends on the consistency of the fecal matter. If solid, the area can be “shocked” with chemicals, Otley said. If not, it can take up to 24 hours to clean the water. “We follow the letter of the health district guidelines,” she said. “We want to keep people safe.” Otley also mentioned that announcements are made during breaks at the pool, to remind parents to take their children to the restrooms. “It really does have ramifications for people at the facility,” she said.