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Town lifts campers’ pool ban after resolving hygiene issues

A recent hygiene issue at the Manorhaven Pool that led North Hempstead officials to turn away hundreds of summer campers has been resolved, but overcrowding remains a concern.

In the final weeks of summer camp season, access to the pool was revoked and then regulated after multiple defecation and vomiting incidents. Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at a board meeting last week that while the decision wasn’t an easy one, a “time out” was necessary before reaching a compromise with the camps.

Camps were effectively banned from the Manorhaven pool for several days during the first week of August. Over two weeks from July 25 to early August, the pool was temporarily closed for six days, affecting more than 500 campers. Some programs opted to use the town’s alternative recommendations, Whitney Pond Pool or North Hempstead Beach Park. After negotiations, camps were permitted to return during limited hours while the pool was closed to the public.

Residents and camp officials took offense to the claim that the hygiene issues were caused by campers, which the town’s news release stated.

At last Tuesday’s board meeting, Port Washington resident and village trustee Matthew Kepke said there was “a lot of misinformation going on” and that the catalyst for the pool closures was overcrowding.

“The decision to pull the permits was a very harsh and rash decision,” Kepke said. “There were a number of children that were harmed by this.”

About nine camps received permits for the pool, said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere. Town officials said the overcrowding stemmed from some camps exceeding their permitted number of campers, prompting complaints from residents.

“The pool is not set up to have hundreds of kids, and we’re not set up to supervise hundreds of kids,” Bosworth said.

The town will study camp permit procedures for next year to prevent pool overcrowding, officials said.

Donna Preminger, executive director at the Port Washington Children’s Center, which operates three camps using the pool, said she hopes swim permits will return to normal next summer season.

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