There was a time when the position of lake attendant at Hope Mills Lake was seasonal, but with the popularity of the lake since its return, the need for someone to be on duty more frequently has increased.
That’s why the town is seeking to add at least two part-time lake attendants as soon as possible to try and keep things in order at the popular recreational area.
Lamarco Morrison, who heads the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, said he’s currently having to assign full-time staffers who have other jobs to handle the lake attendant’s role.
“We definitely have to have someone there on the weekends to make sure they are adhering to the rules,’’ Morrison said.
Those rules have gotten more complicated because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, with lake attendants having to step in and enforce social distancing restrictions.
The basic responsibilities of the lake attendant are fairly routine Morrison said. They monitor the lake and its park to make sure town ordinances are being observed, like no one fishing in the designated swimming area, making sure trash is picked up and making sure the restrooms at the lake are clean.
The lake attendant is not required to do any grounds care like mowing or weeding. They do need to check on things like making sure dogs are on leashes and that no one parks a vehicle at the boat ramp except to put a boat in the water and then leave.
Other rules that need to be enforced are no smoking and no weapons.
The main COVID-19 rule that is a problem with lake visitors is limiting all groups to a maximum of 25. That is also the limit imposed on the number of people that can be in the swimming area at one time.
While the wearing of masks is encouraged in the park, Morrison said it is not a rule.
There are no limits on how many cars can be parked in the lake parking lot, but Morrison said the lake attendant does enforce the 25-person rule when people are outside of their vehicles. If they decide to buy food at the nearby Big T’s food stand, they cannot congregate to eat it there in large groups and must either leave or eat in their cars.
Park staff is no longer putting up a barricade at the parking lot at day’s end. Typical summer hours for the park are from dawn to dusk, with the park usually shutting down each day around 10 p.m. There is an attendant on duty from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. They work in two shifts of no more than six to six-and-a-half hours per day. State and federal laws limit how much the part-time attendants can work both weekly and annually without receiving benefits.
The attendants are not authorized to assess penalties for violating park rules. Their instructions are to tell someone one time if they are in violation of park rules. If the person ignores the warning and continues the violation, the attendants are not to confront the person violating the rules, but instead contact local law enforcement to handle the problem.
Unfortunately, Morrison said that has happened on numerous occasions.
To apply for the lake attendant position, go to Town Hall on Rockfish Road during normal business hours.
You can also follow this link to the application online: www.townofhopemills.com/jobs.aspx.