Mayor Diane Delaware said her reservations about opening the public pool have proven to be reasonable after a recent wild party on the public property.
Delaware said Parks & Recreation allowed a group to rent the pool for a party that was totally inappropriate.
“This is our public pool, and they had beer and liquor, and outwardly open booties shaking and rumbling, and the look of sexual acts in the pool in the daytime in the Wardell Leach Park,” Delaware said.
The mayor said that Police Chief Ron Sampson had video of the party. She said the video would have to be played during the closed executive session of Monday’s board meeting because many people would find it offensive.
Delaware said the city is not to blame for this incident.
“I’m not responsible for this,” she said. “It’s not my pool. The state law says that the Parks & Recreation Board, which is a legal entity, runs our parks. I keep explaining this to people who say that I’m in charge. I am not.”
Delaware said she was not in favor of opening the pool.
“We appoint a board, along with the county, that is responsible for running our parks,” Delaware said. “They came in here and said that they needed money to open the pool, and I was against it.”
Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson said he had told Parks & Recreation board members before that he thought it was a bad idea to rent the pool out for private events.
“I knew something like this was going to happen,” he said.
“It’s disgusting,” Delaware said.
“It is disgusting, but I guess it won’t happen again,” Johnson said.
Delaware said it’s up to the city board to decide how to respond.
“This board must make a decision about what we’re going to do about it,” Delaware said.
Delaware said she plans to build a splash pad for local children as an alternative to the pool. She has previously explained that she believes splash pads are safer and pointed out that many other communities are building splash pads at their parks instead of pools.
Later in the board meeting the board accepted a grant for $61,302.50 from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks for the construction of a 900-square foot splash pad with canopy, security fencing, support facilities and additional playground equipment for Campanella Park. The city will match the grant funds.