ROCHESTER, Minn. - The searing temperatures seemed to cause tempers to boil over at Soldiers Field pool in Rochester resulting in bad behavior which led to the facility's closure on Wednesday.
Fights, unsupervised children, and fence jumping have all been cited as reasons Rochester has closed city pools.
The Rochester Parks and Recreation Department says there are ongoing conversations happening about how to best reopen the pool after the rowdy behavior.
Recreation supervisor Ben Boldt explained, "It's a lot of different things going on that all have come together and converged at the pools that created the issue so I don't think there's going to be just a singular thing we can change that's going to magically fix it. It's just something we're going to need to work on and try to find the best way forward."
The department is working with Rochester police and Orcas Swim Club but is not releasing those details yet.
Bolt does say as much as the community is disappointed with the closure, the city is equally disheartened.
"Really it was a necessary step until we can get things under control. With that water component to it being outdoor pools, there's so much emphasis that needs to be put on safety for the patrons and for the staff. So, it was the step we needed to take. Hopefully, we can get a good plan in place and see better behavior when we reopen the pool and hopefully that can be soon."
Bolt says in his seven years with the city he's never seen the collective out-of-control behavior of the past few days.
Rochester nanny, Brandy Pena, was at the pool around noon on Tuesday. She tells KIMT she felt it wasn't overcrowded. However, she did mention there was a line when they left around 2pm.
Pena says she now feels bad for the children wanting to cool off during this heatwave who may not have another option.
"I'm sure everyone is just overwhelmed that something like the pool is open after COVID so I think all the kids and all the parents are overwhelmed and it was just the first couple of days so I don't think they should have closed it so soon," said Pena.
Mary Vanpeursem, a Rochester grandmother, also expressed her concern. She says her grandchildren don't typically don't go to public pools due to the crowd concerns but says it's still unfortunate for those who count on public pools to cool off.
She explained, "With large crowds, you kind of never know what you're going to get and in this circumstance, it sounds like things got out of hand which is too bad."
This is also the first year there has been free admission at city pools which the parks department says may have been another contributor to the chaos. As of now, there is no timeline on when the pools will reopen.