Sabina Community Pool opens up and starts off strong


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



SABINA — The village-owned outdoors community pool got off to a rip-roaring start this week, according to pleased town officials.

After just two days of fees plus some monetary donations, the pool manager deposited around $4,000 in the pool fund on Wednesday, “which is remarkable,” Mayor Jim Mongold said during Thursday’s session of council.

“The place looks great. I really like the lifeguard room that they added,” said Mongold.

A storage area was converted into a lifeguard break room, providing the guards a chance to get out of the hot sun on their work breaks and go where it’s “a little bit darker and cooler,” the mayor remarked.

The mayor’s son James donated a mini-fridge to the lifeguards, and resident Samantha Marconet of Peace, Love & Everything Vinyl donated a vinyl window sign for the concessions window.

A new pool pump has been installed which seems to run a lot quieter than the prior one, reported Village Administrator Rob Dean.

And the coach of a Washington Court House swim team has asked to rent the pool three mornings a week for two hours so they can practice there.

In late May, the mayor told the News Journal, “In regard to the pool, we are preparing to open. We will take a significant [financial] loss in all likelihood, but feel that this is something the community needs. There are major precautions that we will need to be certain to take to allow the opening, so will be opening a bit late.”

During Sabina Police Chief Keynon Young’s report, he said it may get harder to find law enforcement officers in the wake of the current widespread calls for changes in policing after the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody. The chief anticipates additional scrutiny on officers and more training.

Village Councilman Benjamin Collings asked whether the chief or any of the officers have had de-escalation training.

Young replied he has probably taken a course “but it’s been a multitude of years back.” He added the department doesn’t have someone assigned that role.

Collings said he would like it if the Sabina Police Department were to receive guidance in de-escalation techniques and steps.

“I would like to see that. It seems, you know, if you can de-escalate a situation safely, it’s better for you [the officer] and the person. And that is one of the policy changes that has had an effect when put into place. A positive effect,” said Collings.

The chief said when the police academies are back teaching in-person classes, he thinks it would be good if at least a couple Sabina officers were to take de-escalation training. By having at least two officers trained, if one is unavailable then there is an alternate officer who could be called upon, Young said.

Recreation and Tourism Committee Chairperson and Councilwoman Bethany Grehl brought up the idea of a downtown storefront painting project. It would involve business or property owners purchasing the paint of their chosen color, and then hopefully having volunteers do the painting, thereby helping beautify the downtown and saving on labor cost.

Mayor Mongold said during his report that when he is contacted regarding problems near a residence — say, discarded hypodermic needles or trespassing — he typically advises (among other things) that they consider buying a security camera if it’s within their means.

“The more people that have these in place, the better our chances are at reducing crime,” the mayor said. Sharing video evidence with the police helps greatly, he added.

Council voted for the village to request funds from the county coronavirus relief distribution fund in connection with the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.

According to the legislative measure passed by council, the applicable funds that the village spends have to be tracked from March 1 through December, and be for extra supplies or extra expenses the village incurs stemming from the public health emergency.

Council members also voted to have a village water tower painted. Village Administrator (VA) Rob Dean mentioned the painting company has the capability to add an image upon the tower bowl exterior, and a number of town officials expressed interest. The mayor said a picture on the bowl could be a “real eye catcher.”

There may be a contest to come up with a fitting image.

VA Dean said there are a lot of good examples of water tower emblems around the country, and moreover he takes photos of water towers and their tanks.

Village Councilwoman Vicki Mongold kidded with him, saying, “Rob, that’s a little weird to take pictures of water towers.”

The village administrator had a comeback: “I look at fire hydrants and water towers when I go out of town,” eliciting chuckles from those at the virtual remote meeting.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

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By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com