The Northampton Borough Council voted unanimously on Thursday, May 5 to require that all minors purchasing day passes to the Northampton Recreation Center be accompanied by an adult. This comes after complaints were made against middle school students “annoying” other members and causing other nuisances.
As of June 1, all minors purchasing a Day Pass must be accompanied by an adult. One adult will be required for each minor unless the adult and minor are members of the same family.
“They spit in the face of authority,” said Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr.
Council rejected the request to increase the price of Day Passes from $6 to $10 in favor of adult supervision. Raising the price, said councilman Trevor Stone, would punish all residents for the actions of a few.
The disturbances typically occur after the middle school lets out for the day and before parents return home from work in the evening. Police Chief Bryan Kadingo said it would be difficult to establish a regular police presence at the rec center because this period is one of the busiest for officers.
“For 20 to 30 minutes, it is nonstop,” he said. However, he added that employees and members of the rec center should still call the police if issues persist.
Minors with yearly passes will still be allowed to visit the rec center as normal. If an individual disturbs other members, their pass can be revoked.
The ongoing behavioral issues of the youths in the borough were the concern of several council members, including Councilwoman Bonnie Almond.
“There is an ongoing problem with the behavior of these kids today,” she said, relaying instances of teenagers shouting and fighting in the middle of the sidewalk, and climbing street signs.
“What can I do as a council member to help people feel at ease?” she asked.
Chief Kadingo said some disturbances are harder to address than others, such as shouting.
“Kids are loud,” he said. “We are just trying to keep them from destroying stuff.”
In other news, the borough agreed to raise the hourly rate for summer lifeguards from $9.75 to $10. The submission of job applications has been slow. However, Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said the lifeguard shortage is a problem boroughs and townships across the area are facing. Despite this, the pool is currently being prepared to open for the summer.
Former Northampton lifeguard Monica Hodges appeared before the Board to share her experiences as a lifeguard. It was her first job, she said, and she still maintains friendships with her coworkers to this day.
Because of this close-knit relationship, she asked whether the Borough would support a memorial to honor the lives of former lifeguards who have since passed. Though the idea is still conceptual, she asked whether there is anything the pool needs that the group of former lifeguards could donate as a perpetual way to honor the lives lost, such as ladders, fountains, or AEDs.
“We are looking for something meaningful…and helpful,” she said.
Brobst said the Borough has been considering a splash pad for the children’s area, but this is something that would take time and not be ready for this summer season.
Hodges also said her group would be interested in constructing a plaque at the pool. She and Brobst will explore the options available.
The next borough council meeting will be Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m.