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The Great Mills Swimming Pool has been the repeated target of vandalism in recent years. In response, the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks got approval Tuesday from the county commissioners to buy a security system.

Furniture and trash cans have been thrown into the pool, which is uncovered during the summer and topped with a bubble during the winter, said Jessica Hale, recreation division manager. There was also an instance of buckets of paint being thrown into the water. “I’m not sure where that came from,” she said.

The pool already has an alarm system in the bath house, but the problems are happening to the rear of the pool, close to the Bay Ridge neighborhood.

“They’re jumping the fence. We even had police support come out and do routine visits to see if they could catch people,” Hale said.

“It’s an annoyance in the morning when all the furniture is in there, but it’s also happening far more frequently then we’d like to happen,” she said.

“Eventually it’s going to cost us a good ticket of damage,” she said.

County staff proposed buying four security cameras for $13,294, which was approved, but Commissioner Dan Morris (R) suggested a motion-sensor system instead. “Cameras are great for the first time,” he said. However, “the first thing a kid does when he sees a camera, he pulls his hoodie over. They’re going to put the hoodie on. That why they got hoodies.”

The motion-sensor system would immediately alert the police, but larger wildlife, like deer, could do that too, said Commission President Jack Russell (D).

Also, the children’s pool will be filled in as it is unusable due to defective drainage, said Brian Loewe, director of recreation and parks. It would require extensive excavation and repairs to make it functional again. “It collects debris and dirt and is not aesthetically pleasing for the pool site,” he wrote to the commissioners. That pool will be filled in at a cost of $6,750 and will be used as a picnic area in the summer months.

The Great Mills Swimming Pool was built by developer Faison Enterprises for $2 million to end a court dispute with St. Mary’s County government over the First Colony planned unit development in California. The county commissioners wanted a movie theater there. The developer wanted a wholesale club instead, which was built. The Great Mills Swimming Pool opened in November 2003.

jbabcock@somdnews.com