EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSA.D. Lewis Pool Reopens A Day After Being Vandalized
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Videographer: Kenney Barnette
Reported: Jun. 24, 2014 2:12 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 24, 2014 4:18 PM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
A day after vandals caused destruction at the A.D. Lewis Community Center pool, it has reopened.
Employees spent all day repainting over graffiti and cleaning out the pool.
Employees say they were were in disbelief after they realized someone broke into the pool house, dumped chemicals and pool supplies into the pool, and spray painted a couple of the walls not just at the community center, but also at a neighboring business.
"I was very shocked actually that someone would just take the time out of their day or night, either whenever they did it, just to come out and just destroy the pool," said Jasmine Felder, head lifeguard at the pool.
Felder has worked at the pool for six years and said she knows firsthand the hard work it's taken to keep this pool open the past couple of years.
"We've put forth just so much effort trying to get it open for the community," she said.
Things such as cosmetic repairs and a broken pump shortened recent seasons, but a generous donation from Marathon gave them what they needed to reopen this year.
City of Huntington Communications Director Bryan Chambers said kids in the community view the community center as a safe haven, and while the damage happened just days after the grand opening celebration, they will try to stay positive.
"We are not going to let one cowardly act determine the fate of the pool this summer," he said. "The people of the Fairfield West community are resilient and will continue to be so."
Felder said they are trying to use the incident as a teachable moment.
"We definitely work hard here, and any defeat, we look at it, learn from it, bounce back quickly. You can't sit down and wait to pout because the world's not going to wait on you to cry," she said.
Chambers said police are looking at some possible surveillance video from nearby to gather more information. Employees at the center said they believe someone gained entry through a small hole in the rear of the pool house.
While pool testing supplies were destroyed in the break-in, employees were able to buy some temporary supplies at a local business to remain open. They said the water tested at safe levels Tuesday afternoon.
If you have any information, you can call the Huntington Police Department crime tip line at 304-696-4444.
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