There were some recent posts on social media about the poolroom at North Carroll Senior & Community Center being closed. There was a lot of speculation but not a lot of specific information in the comments.
The Observer reached out to the Senior Center on the morning of October 24th about this topic and they referred me to Carroll County Bureau of Aging & Disabilities. I then spoke with Gina Valentine (Bureau Chief of Bureau of Aging & Disabilities Administration) and she was not able to provide me additional details until she spoke to her Director (Celene Steckel).
Department of Citizen Services Director Celene Steckel followed up on the afternoon of October 24th with the following information when I inquired about what is happening with the closing of the poolroom at the center:
We had an internal meeting on, I believe it was Monday, the October 16th and after our internal meeting, after we received some concerns from other members at the centers and then had also been looking at some different ways to operationalize the way that that pool room is used.
And we decided that we were going to close it down for a 30-day temporary closure while we re-evaluate really how we use the pool room and we want to make sure that we are providing an experience for everybody and all the attendees of the center to wish to play pool to make sure it’s a welcoming and accommodating offering to anyone at any pool play level.
This is a temporary closure.
There was signage posted internally and we had our management staff on site the day that we did the closure so that if people had questions, they could ask about it and typically because it’s just a temporary closure of one of the rooms, we wouldn’t have put a press relief out for something that minor.
We’re doing a 30-day evaluation period and we will be hosting an information meeting, an informational meeting at the center closer to that end of the 30 days.
The Observer: What would be the end of the 30 days? What date would that be? Approximately or do you have a date?
We closed it on the 17th (October) so roughly around November 17th we would have that evaluation completed And we’ll post information at the center about when we’re going to hold the informational meeting about what those recommendations will be and the new utilization of the poolroom.
The Observer: I can’t imagine this happened without some incident or some concern. Can you talk about that at all?
I would just say that we’ve had members of the center that were voicing complaints about some of the utilization and the poolroom and we just want to look at how that poolroom is used.
We also have space needs there at the center. And really just kind of looking at is there a better way to utilize that space and can we make sure that it’s welcoming to everyone.
The Observer: But there wasn’t like a specific incident that…
There was no one incident that led to this.
This has been something we’ve been looking at, to be quite honest, for years.
And nobody wants to eliminate pool play from a senior center. That’s not the goal here. But the goal is how can we have pool play there that’s accessible to everyone,
no matter what your skill level is or your ability level.
The Observer: When you do hold your meeting, whatever it may be around November 17th, will a public, any type of public notice go out at that point. Or will it just be signage? I mean, how are you going to tell the community about that?
I’m not sure we thought that far in advance about it. My goal would definitely be to send, you know, we had distribution list for our senior center membership. So we would certainly be engaging in sending notification that way.
We would likely also call the pool players that we have noted as people because we track activities, we would call the pool players to make sure they were aware that the meeting was being held because we certainly would want them to be present for, you know, for the sessions to understand where we’re going with our poolroom utilization.
An attempt to reach Carroll County Commissioner Kenny Kiler (District 2) was unsuccessful on October 24th for his thoughts on this item. If I am able to catch up with him in the near future I will update this article with his comments.
UPDATE: I spoke to Commissioner Kiler on the afternoon of the 24th and he is aware of the situation and is monitoring this issue.
Hopefully this helps explain what is happening with the poolroom at North Carroll Senior & Community Center.
The Observer will keep an eye out for additional details on this item.
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