21 June 2009

CA Pools Close for No Good Reason?


There may have been. There might have been a strike by lifeguards. Pumps could have failed. Chemicals not delivered. I’m just not sure.

For all accounts, yesterday was a typical Maryland/Columbia day in June. Temperatures in the mid-80’s; muggy, humid air; partly sunny or partly cloudy, depending on your disposition. My son and I had a lot of fun during the day. Morning drizzle gave way to outdoor fun in the backyard.

After lunch, we decided it would be great to cool off in the pool. We began a long trek around Columbia looking for relief from the heat. Clad in our swim trunks and towels, we first set out to Running Brook Pool. Closed. Gates locked, no one in sight, no sign, no reason.

Puzzled, we jumped in the car and headed over to Thunder Hill. Different Village, same story. Back in the car, doubts were being raised. “Are there any pools open daddy?”

We figured we would try our luck at a “super pool.” Off to Dickenson. When we arrived we found more locked gates and only birds on the lounge chairs. “Daddy, it’s not fair,” was what I heard from the back seat.

Circling back to casa de Santos, we made one more detour in hopes to find one pool that bucked the tide – Clary’s Forest. Clary’s has everything: hot tub, beach entry, fountain, diving board, and beach volley ball. The silence was humbling. “Will the pools ever open again?” I heard from my little swimmer who had no place to swim. “I’m sure they will, just not today.”

Now I know that thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday, but they never came. It seems that CA has been caught in the equivalent of a public school snow day declaration to see less than an inch accumulate on the grass. For me, this does not wash. Snow day declarations and closing pools due to thunder both are related to safety, but the snow day is often called because it can take a significant amount of time to plow the snow and make things safe. Thunder at the pool will cause the water to be vacated in usually less than three or four minutes, and the pool shut down (if needed) within half an hour.

I would imagine that beside the safety standpoint (which I believe all parties would place as the highest concern), some may try to marginalize this decision to shut down the pools by saying there are inclement weather pools that stay open. I say great, if there is inclement weather. The sun was shining most of the day yesterday.

Others may say that closing the pools would save money. I might agree with that, but in saving money, CA has degraded the value of my membership. Without value, I could care less how thrifty the organization is.

Bottom line: In my mind, CA dropped the ball on Saturday June 20, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Here is CA's pool closing policy on inclement weather days:

Limited Operations When it’s cold and dreary with light rain or thunder showers predicted. The following pools will remain open (except on their closed days)
Dorsey Hall, Hopewell, Kendall Ridge, River Hill, Steven’s Forest and Swansfield.

Inclement Operations Rainy, inclement days. Steven’s Forest and Swansfield
remain open (unless very inclement or on their closed day). All other pools are
closed. Please call 410-715-3154 for weather related operations and updates.

B. Santos said...


I am aware of the policy, I believe the policy is wrong. Thunderstorms are a part of life during Howard County Summers. From my point of view, this is a further erosion of pool availability. We already suffer with many pools closing earlier in the summer. Now there is an unpredictable element of "Thunder Closing."

I have not noticed any reduction in pool membership prices now that most of the pools can be shut down at will. Once again, I am all for safety, and if thunder/lightning is in the area, closing a pool is wise; however pool closings based on predictions makes no sense.