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With lifeguards fired, pool closes

Teen staffers arrested for allegedly drinking in pool house

A teen drinking incident is making August a bit more uncomfortable for some people near Holmberg Park.

The park’s pool closed two weeks early Monday after Spokane County sheriff’s deputies busted nearly half the lifeguard staff for allegedly hosting a beer fest in the pool house over the weekend.

It was a double whammy: The three teens were arrested and fired.

Parks officials decided it was too late to hire replacements and closed the pool at Holland Avenue and Wall Street.

“It’s a disappointment to all the community members that were served by the pool,” said Spokane County Park Ranger Bryant Robinson.

With Spokane’s high hitting 97 on Wednesday, 12-year-old Amanda Parker planned to ask her parents if she could swim in the pool.

She and her friend Taylor Hoard, 12, discovered that wouldn’t be possible after visiting the park Wednesday.

“It was sad,” Amanda said.

The county parks department is still operating pools at the Northside and Southside aquatic centers, and the city of Spokane won’t close Hillyard, Comstock, Liberty and Witter pools until later this month.

But for neighborhood kids like Taylor and Amanda, those pools are too far away for a quick swim.

“We have quite the drive now to get anywhere,” said Londa Hogan, who visited the park with her daughter. “It takes a big chunk out of the summer fun.”

Recreationists weren’t the only swimmers affected. Swimming lessons scheduled to begin Monday at Holmberg moved more than five miles away to the Northside center.

Nearly 40 of the 88 people signed up for lessons requested and received refunds, according to the county parks department.

Deputies responding just before midnight Sunday to a report of loud music at the park said they discovered the three intoxicated lifeguards along with more than a dozen empty beer cans and five full ones.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the teens locked themselves in the pool house and didn’t surrender until deputies promised to release a barking sheriff’s dog named Gordy.

Robinson confirmed the teens weren’t supposed to be in the building after hours and requested they be charged with second-degree burglary.

The pool’s four other employees will spend the next two weeks at Liberty Lake, Bear Lake and the Northside Family Aquatic Center.

“It’s definitely a bummer,” Robinson said.

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or at meghannc@spokesman.com.


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