A new policy prohibiting the throwing of any objects at the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center and the Clyde “Butch” Seidle Community Pool has been modified, according to Hilliard officials.
Cloth-style balls and other approved objects will be permitted at the two pools beginning Thursday, July 4, city officials announced July 3 via hilliardohio.gov.
“We heard from many residents around the community who weighed in on this topic on both sides," said David Ball, Hilliard's director of communications. "Ultimately, we feel we were able to come up with a compromise that hopefully everyone will appreciate."
Approved toys for throwing are “squishy, cloth-style balls designed specifically for pool use” and beach balls less than 24 inches in diameter.
The previous policy instituted at the start of the pool season prohibited throwing any objects.
That policy was a reaction to an incident that occurred last year when a woman was struck by a thrown object at a city pool, Ball said.
The city settled with the woman’s insurance company for $5,250, and during the winter, former Hilliard law director Tracy Bradford issued a directive that the city enact a policy that prohibited throwing objects on pools property, Ball said.
The original policy change was not shared with the communications department and became publicized only after the policy was put into effect, Ball said.
“The city could have done a better job communicating (the new policy), he said last week.
Ball said he, Mayor Don Schonhardt, Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department director Ed Merritt and Hilliard City Council members received calls and emails from residents about the policy.
Council President Kelly McGivern said last week she hoped the administration could find a “common-sense” compromise.
McGivern said July 3 she was pleased with the city’s decision.
“I want to thank Mayor Schonhardt for his leadership in helping to find a middle ground that allows kids to have fun but still keep our residents safe at the pool,” she said.
Some items remain prohibited, including foam-based balls, plastic discs, sports-related balls and generally any toy not designed for pool use.
The policy extends to the grassy area at the Seidle pool.
Hilliard’s new policy is similar to Dublin's.
According to a Dublin recreational brochure, “only small, round, soft sponge balls and soft, round, inflatable beach balls are permitted (in pools.”
“Our staff uses their best judgment in any situation,” said Sarah McQuaide, a public-information officer for Dublin.
Similarly, the policy on hilliardohio.gov encourages pool patrons to ask staff members about approved toys and other activities.
“We feel this compromise balances safety with general enjoyment of our aquatic facilities,” Ball said.