Letter: A Near Death in the Julington Creek Pool
St Johns, FL
Only a few months ago, an adult who had been rescued from the Julington Creek Community Pool, died from his injuries. Just recently a child almost drowned; but, thankfully, a lifeguard was able to rescue the child before another tragedy occurred.
The near drowning occurred during one of the regularly scheduled “Friday happy hours” sponsored by the CDD. People bring their kids down to the pool to be “supervised by the lifeguards,” while the parents enjoy their alcohol. This is based on the many photos on the CDD facebook page showing buckets overflowing with beer in front of the patrons.
Julington Creek previously violated their liquor license by serving alcohol in unauthorized areas. When the violation came to light, the CDD moved quickly to expand their licensed area so that alcohol can be served and consumed on most of the property — including in the water of the pools.
“I see people in the pool, holding on to the edge, with a beer in their hand, and talking to someone sitting on the pool deck,” the General Manager observed. “Technically, they are not allowed to do that; but, if we include the pool in the licensed area, then they could do that.”
During the discussion of license expansion, many residents objected — noting the greater risk posed by approving the expansion. However, it’s not just the events themselves that pose a risk, it is the secondary collisions that could potentially occur involving residents and guests who drive from the pool while they are impaired.
The District Manger reported that the Community Development District has sovereign immunity, so any judgment for an unforeseeable event would be limited to $200,000.
Supervisor Klein seemed more interested in generating money for a restaurant than with safety; stating, “I have an interest in whether the café succeeds and I have an interest in whether people enjoy themselves at the pool and tennis courts.”
That was enough for Supervisors Kannatt-Gapinski, and Jacob to hang their hat on. Their three votes to move forward with the expansion showed no concern about safety or risk, only money and a good time.
In light of recent events and the statistics concerning the rampant binge drinking in St Johns County, I do not feel the CDD should be spending tax dollars competing with bars or night clubs, especially when children are involved.
You will always know where someone’s priorities are by how they spend their money; currently alcohol and food are subsidized by the CDD tax payers by about $26,000 a year.
We are sending the wrong message to our children and they are paying the price for the bad decisions of the Julington Creek CDD.