November 22, 2016 Tony Morgan

We Fixed the Overcrowding Problem at Our Neighborhood Pool

Unfortunately, the marketing worked and more and more families began to move into the neighborhood. With each home came new families who also wanted to enjoy the swimming pool. Before we knew it, our neighborhood had a problem. The pool was overcrowded and it was becoming a challenge for the members to enjoy it. In order to accommodate new families and their friends, something had to change.

We live in a suburban area of Atlanta that has experienced a lot of growth over the last decade or more. Our neighborhood is no exception.

Back when the developer opened our neighborhood, they constructed a fabulous amenities area with ball fields, sports courts, a playground and a swimming pool. It’s a great pool. In fact, the pool was featured prominently in the marketing materials back in the early days of the development to encourage people to purchase lots and build new homes. It was one of the factors that attracted us to the neighborhood, as well.

Those first summers were fabulous because the amenities area, including the pool, was designed to accommodate hundreds of homes that weren’t yet built. Because of that, there was plenty of space at the pool for everyone who called our neighborhood home.

Unfortunately, the marketing worked and more and more families began to move into the neighborhood. With each home came new families who also wanted to enjoy the swimming pool. Before we knew it, our neighborhood had a problem.

The pool was overcrowded and it was becoming a challenge for the members to enjoy it. In order to accommodate new families and their friends, something had to change.

That’s when the neighborhood leadership determined we needed to expand the pool or add a pool in a second location.

Three different options were developed for expanding or adding a second pool. Then the options were sent to the members of the neighborhood for a vote. Of course every time you put anything to a vote, people take sides. And that’s what happened here. The vote ended up being split almost equally among the three options.

Though the current pool couldn’t accommodate more people, the leadership decided not to move forward with expanding or adding a pool because they didn’t have consensus from the members of the neighborhood. If they chose any one of the three options, a portion of the neighborhood would be upset and might begin to withhold their homeowner’s association dues.

Instead, the leadership decided to change the rules. They employed a new system to make sure only members were getting access to the swimming pool. They established strict limits on the number of guests that any one family could invite.

Guess what? It worked. By making it more difficult for guests to go to the pool, they fixed the overcrowding problem. This past summer there was plenty of space for just the members.

At the same time, I noticed my kids started going to other pools that were more accommodating to guests. I’m suspecting others in our neighborhood did the same thing, and that probably also freed up some space at our pool.

I don’t know if your pool has an overcrowding issue, but I thought I would pass along what we learned from our experience:

  • When you make it harder for new families and their friends to use the pool, it really frees up space for the members.
  • We already live in the neighborhood, so it’s really pointless to be concerned about the people who don’t live here.
  • We saved a lot of money by avoiding the pool expansion to accommodate new people. Sometimes it pays to prioritize money over people.
  • When leaders are faced with a tough decision, the best solution is to give everyone a voice and try to make everyone happy. The lack of consensus on a proposed change will likely make people want to avoid the change all together.
  • When you make it harder for guests to visit the pool, people will start going to other pools that are more guest-friendly. Of course, those pools aren’t usually as deep as our pool.

So that’s how we fixed the overcrowding problem at our pool.

Hope that helps you too if you ever face a “pool overcrowding” challenge like we did.

 


Photo credit: Walter via compfight.com cc

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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