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Strict rules for Avon’s new pools raise some eyebrows

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AVON, Ohio- In theory, if you repeatedly violate pool rules at the new aquatic center in Avon, you could go to jail.

Officials say people should take a breath, and see how the rules will be enforced with common sense once the center opens this summer.

Still, some of the rules-- no gum, only one bounce allowed on the diving board-- have raised some eyebrows.

"I understand safety rules, but gum, or jumping on a diving board, that's for parents to decide," said Samantha McAusland, who is the mother of a two-year-old.

"It seems a little extreme," said Melissa Zilonis, the mother of a five-year-old son, "because I remember when we were kids, we would just go play and have fun."

The fact that, in the extreme, a repeat offender could face a misdemeanor charge that could carry jail time, has only fueled the controversy.

"Some people who might read that on paper are going to say, 'well, that's ridiculous," said Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen.

But the mayor says people should see the intent behind the rules, and wait to see how they are enforced.

"If you look at the intent of what we're going to do, I don't think anybody's come back and said that doesn't make sense," Mayor Jensen said.

The mayor says it's likely that the most that will happen is that repeat violators might be banned from the pools.

And he says the "one bounce" rule will be enforced against dangerous horseplay on diving boards, but that obviously accomplished divers won't be reprimanded for bouncing more than once.

Avon Law Director John Gasior says "in the abstract, (the rules) may sound like a little bit of overkill, but we do have valid reasons. Kids can hurt if they start bouncing on the diving board."

Gasior adds that the "no gum" rule is designed to try and ensure that the pools filters don't get clogged.

"All we want to do is make sure everyone's safe here," he adds. Officials hope the pools opens sometime in the middle of July.