The Clewiston News

Residents protest conditions at James Mason Pool in Harlem

Residents using the James Mason Pool are fed up with its dingy, dirty appearance.

Pictures surfaced on social media Sunday night of the James Mason Pool bathroom in Harlem that sent East County Recreation employees on a mission to clean it up.

Apparently, a toilet in the men’s bathroom had backed up and left the unmentionable contents with nowhere to go. Pool goers took a picture of the toilet and went to social media to voice their concerns over the condition of the seemingly neglected facility.

But the pictures did not stop at the backed up toilet. Images of calcified shower heads and spigots, holes in the wall where a sink once hung, and equipment stored haphazardly in a corner also made their way into the spotlight.

Users of the Harlem facility seemed fed up with its condition and called out Clewiston Recreation Director Lance Ramer to do something about it.

Ramer, who heads both the Clewiston Recreation Department and East County Recreation, received a call from Mayor Phillip Roland around 5:30 p.m. Sunday and went out to the pool to take care of the situation.

He and a team were able to unclog the toilet using a snake, but the county maintenance crew — which is the responsible party for maintaining the upkeep of the facility — may have to come back in and pull the toilet from the wall in order to truly fix the problem.

“I appreciate them being observant because I’m not there all the time. I appreciate other eyes,” said Ramer of those who blew the whistle on the bathroom conditions.

Ramer said he also spoke with staff members about their opening and closing responsibilities at the pool.

As for the missing sink and crusted shower heads and faucets, Ramer said those are a result of the “antiquated building” that needs concentrated capital efforts.

The showers are pressure washed and scrubbed by hand, said Ramer. The crust seen in the showers is not the result of dirt but of time.

The fixtures in the bathroom are on a “fix schedule” and the county is responsible for allocating money towards its facilities to update and install new fixtures.

But whenever there is an issue with safety or health at one of the city’s 26 parks and green spaces, Ramer encourages those who see it to contact him immediately at 863-228-1230.