Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – It was a two squad car kind of day at Hood Park yesterday, after a disgruntled grandpa got a little hot under the collar when he was told his grandson had to wait until after 12:30 to swim.
Just before noon the man, who had tried to bring his grandson swimming at the town park two days in a row, was frustrated to learn that he – and several other hopeful swimmers – would have to wait until the morning swim lessons were done before jumping into the drink.
“He was giving the lifeguard some grief, but we were able to resolve it without any trouble,” said Derry Police Sgt. Peter Morelli. He said the man, whose name was not released, was not cited.
Aquatics supervisor Nicole Ferrante said it is the first time something like that's happened at a town recreation site.
“But as a result of what happened, we're going to make up new signs, like a sandwich board, and have it at the top of the hill, just so people are aware,” Ferrante said.
Public swimming hours are posted on the town's website, on the town calendar and at the park, Ferrante said, so there really shouldn't be any question about the town's policy, which doesn't allow others into the water during lessons.
Swim lessons are popular this season, with a larger than normal first session of 159 kids taking lessons during the first session, which started this week. Registration is currently open for the second session, Ferrante said.
Free swim at Hood Park is 12: 30 p.m. to 2:45, with lessons in the morning from 10 a.m. to noon followed by a half-hour lap for kids, and then afternoon lessons from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The park is also open on weekends, but with no life guards on duty.
The town's other public swimming site, Gallien's Beach, is open from 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and the Splash Pad at Don Ball Park is open during park hours.
“We all get a little heated sometimes – especially when it's really hot outside. We try our best to work through the issues and please the public. Hopefully, with the new signs there won't be anymore misunderstandings,” Ferrante said.