Men caught on tape bathing in Seligman splash pad

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

City issues trespass warnings, treats splash pad

Two men were caught on video tape bathing in the Seligman splash pad with a bar of soap at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, according to footage viewed by city personnel, said Seligman City Clerk Brian Nichols.

Once the incident was discovered and the men's identities confirmed, officers were dispatched to issue trespass warnings to the individuals, prohibiting them from entering the park due to their inappropriate behavior.

"A couple of the officers were directed to go and give [the resident] a warning of trespass, and to advise that if they came back into the city park, they would be arrested for trespassing," Nichols said.

The incident was discovered when chemical levels in the splash pad, which the city monitors on a regular basis, were not correct. After personnel took steps to determine what was upsetting the pH balance of the water, they watched video surveillance and got their answer.

"We noticed some issues going on with the chemical levels in the splash pad, because we monitor levels daily, along with the pH level, and change out the filters," Nichols said.

City personnel confirmed that the individuals were not completely nude and were wearing shorts. In total, Nichols said the amount of time it took to determine was was causing the problem with pH levels took about an hour of city time.

"It takes one person about 20 minutes each morning to check the pH and chlorine level of the water and adjust," he said. "They also pull the large canister filter and replace with a clean filter, then clean the old one. We also checked the video footage to see if it could tell us anything."

According to the footage, the individuals' bath lasted approximately 10 minutes, and a bar of soap was determined to be the culprit that threw off pH levels.

"A bar of soap and suds will do odd things to the pH level," Nichols said.

There were no witnesses, Nichols said.

"No one was out there or using the park when it happened," said Nichols, who confirmed the incident is the first to occur at the splash pad, which is located in the city park, a property the city has diligently worked to restore and improve.

The 30-foot, circular concrete pad features 24 jets that shoot water into the air in random sequences every four minutes, and the project is the result of almost two years of planning.

"We were already cleaning it out [for the season]," Nichols said. "Once you hit Labor Day, all the parks and pools close down."

After the individuals were issued trespass warnings, one allegedly asked city staff to be put on the agenda for the Sept. 12 city council meeting to address the warning preventing him from entering the park, but he did not show up, city staff said.

At a cost of about $18,000, the splash pad has provided hours of summer fun for children. As such, the pad was not intended for bathing. The closest amenity like it is in Jordan Valley Park in Springfield, more than 60 miles away.

As with any investment, the city regularly monitors the splash pad to ensure it is in good working condition for residents to enjoy, but after the incident, it may be watched just a little more closely.

"We will certainly be monitoring it," Nichols said.

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