Adults-only pool is favored by Columbia singles, opposed by some parents


A faceoff is shaping up between opponents and proponents of a proposal to restrict use of one of Columbia's 21 outdoor neighborhood pools to adults for certain times.

Two members of Columbia's 1st Place Singles Organization spoke at last night's Columbia Council meeting in favor of reserving certain times, such as Friday evenings and weekends, for adult use only at the Hobbit's Glen pool in Harper's Choice village.

They argued that since about 40 percent of Columbia's population is single, the Columbia Association, which operates the recreational facilities, should adapt its policies to meet those needs.

"It would be a blessing for the adult community -- not just the singles community -- to have a facility for their use," said Robert Johnson, a Harper's Choice village resident.

That argument was countered by two Hobbit's Glen women who between them have seven children. They argued that they pay the same amount in membership rates as do other Columbia residents, and that their children shouldn't be shut out of the closest pool at any times.

"There is a need in Columbia for adults to have quality time, but not at our expense," said Bonnie Hudak.

The proposal has raised a stir in Harper's Choice, where about 25 residents turned out to oppose an adults-only proposal at a March 3 village board meeting.

Members of the singles organization and the Hobbit's Glen opponents have started petitions to support their respective positions, and they plan to attend Tuesday's Harper's Choice village board meeting where a vote could be taken.

John Hansen, Harper's Choice's representative to the Columbia Council, proposed restricting use of the Hobbit's Glen pool to adults only (anyone over 21) after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and all day on Saturdays.

The issue over how to encourage more use of Columbia's pools, which lose money annually, has become heated in the past few months. CA's recent proposals to designate certain pools as adults-only or teens-only have met with resistance.

In other council action, Ann Scherr, CA's assistant director of community services, introduced two new programs. One would serve mentally retarded adults, and the other would expand leisure activities for Columbia residents in the 45-plus age group.

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