Delayed Opening of Pool on Sunday : LUSENET : Kentlands : One Thread

As I was signing in to use the pool today, I saw a notice posted on the door of the clubhouse that stated the pool would be closed to residents tomorrow (Sunday, July 2) until 12:30 PM due to a swimteam relay event.

This in itself is not a huge problem. What is a huge problem is that, as far as I know, this was the only means of communication to the residents regarding the closing of the pool. For those of us who work during the week, Sunday mornings at the pool are precious. The key word here is "morning," as it is often too crowded and noisy in the afternoons to be enjoyable. It is also a holiday weekend, and I think the timing of this event is bad planning. Without making this into a bigger issue than need be, does anyone know a. who schedules these swimteam events; does the schedule need to be approved by anyone other than the swimteam; what, if any, is the means of communication to the residents regarding such events; and what is the advanced notice time given to the residents of such an event?

In a related matter, since the death of the Town Crier and the leave of it's subsequent acting publishers, how does the KCA communicate any information at all to the community? I learned from a friend of the July fourth activities because I have not received any of the "info drops" in over a month. Any information at all would be most appreciated. Thanks very much.

-- Robin Caldwell (, July 01, 2000


I have a similar concern - also triggered by the pool but related to broader issues of communication.

Yesterday, I passed John - the head lifeguard - as a community member was berating him. I walked past him during the part where the resident was saying (actually, shouting) "and I pay your salary, so I expect better." Later, I approached John and asked him what that was all about.

He explained that she was very upset about the swim team controlling the facility and that she doesn't like the way the lap lanes are being managed and etc., etc. John said that he thought she was just looking for him to blow up at her, so that she could report him on that basis, but that he did not give her the pleasure of letting her get under his skin. He also said that he thought a broader problem was that there is no place for people to express their opinions - or vent their opinions - about the pool, and so that he and his guards wind up being the recipient of all types of feedback from residents.

I agree with that concern, and I wonder if we can't do more than a suggestion box (which has been tried at times and which may or may not have been used) and a monthly brief time for citizens to dialogue with the KCA Board - which has had a mixed history in promoting constructive dialogue. The purpose of this electronic forum (see About) was to provide a place for dialogue - aimed at sharing information and perspectives, brainstorming solutions to problems, and in the process connecting residents with one another. I still think we need an independent newspaper to both communicate on behalf of the Board of Trustees and to balance the power that is necessarily held by that body.

If this forum is one means of promoting communication, one thing that continues to sadden me is that some leaders of our community have discouraged residents and people with information to share from participating. Shelah Lynn, the attorney who serves as Counsel to the Kentlands Citizens Board of Trustees, has asked that none of the Board members contribute. Diane Dorney, though she has continued to be supportive of this effort, has abided by that request - and so we have lost her voice and perspective here. Dick Arkin initially stayed off of the forum, but as he himself has said, it became a question of having a place where he could voice his views or submit to a rather arduous review process in trying to get articles into the Town Crier.

And then there are people who chose not to use this vehicle when, at least I think, it could have helped to promote open discussion. Leslie Kennedy was enthusiastic when I approached her at the beginning of the Capital Improvements Committee recommendations regarding expansion projects about the idea of putting up the committee recommendations and encouraging an open discussion. Val Ellenberger, the chair of the committee at that time, put a cabosh on that, claiming that the committee could only use board-endorsed vehicles for communication. Her predecessors - Bob and Nancy Turner - also expressed serious concerns about using an Internet-hosted forum when not everyone would have access. (Note: the forum is available on the computers at the regional library.)

Which is all a long-winded way of venting some of my frustration that even where individuals, like myself, are trying to promote open discussion and communication, we run into obstacles.

So, returning to Robin's question - what are other people's perspectives on the obstacles that block good communication in our community? And perhaps more important, what can be done to promote information exchange - especially during this (hopefully brief) time when the Town Crier is dark?

-- Michael Berney (, July 02, 2000.

It is understandable that there was confusion surrounding the pool hours on Sunday. Following is my best explaination for the chain of events. I wasn't present at any of them, but have talked to people who were, so keeping that caveat in mind, here's what happened.

At the very end of May, after our pool schedule had been published, the Montgomery County Swim League, at their Divisional Meeting, awarded the A Relay Carnival to the Kentlands. This was a great honor for us, and something we had been hoping for.

It was thought that this would be similar to the 2 Saturday and 2 Wednesday meets that we host, in that the social pool would be open as usual for the 1 and a half hour overlap with the meet. The KCA Board chairman was informed of this, and there was not a problem.

However, days prior to the event, the pool management company decided there would be safety concerns with pool deck capacity, and raised these concerns with the property management company. The property management company agreed and made the decision to close the pool, (originally, I think, until twelve, then later changed it to 11). After this decision was made, there was a communication glitch. This glitch is the type of communication problem that seems to occur from time to time in our community. It was unfortunate, and I hope that no one was too greatly inconvenienced by it.

I hope this information is accurate and helpful. The Relay Carnival was a tremendous success. The positive light shown upon our community reflected well on all of us. Kentlands finished in 4th out of 6th place, but won first place for hosting a quality event and extending the hand of community to our county neighbors. Moving from fact to opinion, I feel that events like this, the 5K Run and the House Tour do tremendous good for all of us. I don't play tennis, but I would certainly love to come and watch a tournament if we were ever to host one. Strawberries and Cream and the Kentlands...

-- Kate Hurson (, July 03, 2000.

Thanks very much, Kate. The information you provided was very helpful in explaining why the pool was closed for the Relay Carnival. I agree that this sort of event is very a positive one for the Kentlands community. The time you took to respond is very much appreciated.

My only comment, again, would be to suggest that in the future, the residents be notified as soon as an event such as this is scheduled (end of May as opposed to the end of June). This point goes back to the lack of communication avenues available to the residents.

-- Robin Caldwell (, July 04, 2000.

Michael and Robin have raised a crucial issue for Kentlands, namely, what are the obstacles to good communication in our community? I am not so sure that a lack of available communication avenues is the main problem, although I think that improvements in that realm are definitely needed. If there is one thing that this web forum has demonstrated--in addition to how useful it could be if more people would join in the discussions--it is that a fundamental impediment to dialogue within our community is ourselves. If not, why are more people not participating?

-- Mary N. Macdonald (, July 15, 2000.

Here are some suggestions for how we could have done a better job of using available avenues of communication to let residents know that the pool would be closed to them on July 2 until 12:30 p.m., due to an unscheduled swim team event:

1) The information could have been posted on the KCA web site (

2) Someone with knowledge of the information could have posted it on this (Greenspun) site.

3) The adults who are involved with the swim team could have come up with some way to spread the word about the unscheduled pool closing. Distributing a flyer would have been a breeze with 160 swimmers and their parents to help out. Alternatively, since people sign in to use the pool, maybe the "regulars" could have been notified personally by telephone.

In any event, some courtesy from the swim team (in letting others know of their need to take over the pool at an unplanned time), and THANKS for the use of the pool at an unscheduled period, could have been offered. There would have been some valuable lessons in that for our children to learn.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (, July 26, 2000.

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