Alcohol at Mississippi public pool? Idea making waves between elected leaders, recreation board

Published 5:32 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Supervisors in Adams County and leaders of the local recreation board are at loggerheads about the introduction of alcohol at the public pool during private events.

Despite serious reservations from the Natchez Board of Aldermen and the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the Natchez Community Pool will continue to allow those who rent it for parties to serve alcohol.

That’s what the president of the pool’s board of directors told supervisors at their meeting on Monday morning.

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Jimmy Ware, pool board president, said at its last meeting, the pool’s governing board voted unanimously to continue to allow those who rent the pool facility to serve alcohol.

Ware said about two years ago, the then-recreation board voted to allow alcohol at private parties at the pool. However, Ware cannot produce the minutes of the meeting in which alcohol was approved. He said the board revisited the issue after the county supervisors asked them to, and they voted again to allow alcohol at private parties.

He said if alcohol is served, two Adams County Sheriff’s deputies and a lifeguard must be on duty. Also, the renter must have $1 million in liability policy, Ware said.

Ware claimed because alcohol is allowed at events like rodeos and the convention center and the community center, alcohol should be allowed at the community pool.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray strongly objected.

“That isn’t going to work,” Gray said. He said the difference between alcohol served at the places Ware mentioned and the community pool is swimming.

“I have been swimming all my life and around swimming all my life. Swimming and drinking do not mix. Driving and drinking do not mix. And I don’t care how many millions of dollars in insurance these people have, at the end of the day, liability falls on the city and the county… I just can’t accept it. I just can’t accept anyone swimming in a government pool with alcohol in (his or her) system. If that’s the case, we need to make some changes.”

Supervisors President Wes Middleton asked Ware who employed the lifeguards who worked at the private pool events. Ware said those lifeguards are employees of the county.

“So that liability still falls back on the city and county,” Middleton said.

Supervisors asked County Attorney Scott Slover to check into the county’s liability with the issue and to check with the county’s insurance carrier for its opinion.