Vandals close pool

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Vandalism caused the West Liberty pool to be closed over Fourth of July weekend in Kimberly Park, forcing community members to go elsewhere over a hot weekend.

“A life guard came in and found broken beer bottles on the pool deck, some in the pool and some beer cans floating in the pool,” said Nick Heath, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Because of broken glass in the water, the city was forced to drain all 322,000 gallons costing time and money. The biggest blow, it occurred over a potentially busy weekend.

The vandalism occurred sometime over the night of June 30 or early morning of July 1, the Friday night right before the weekend. Pool staff was set to work Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m devastated at what happened, it’s sad that our community let this happen,” said Pool Manager Kelly Morrison. “It’s sad that there are people in town who would do this. They know the rules, they should be able to follow them.”

The West Liberty Police Department responded to the scene Saturday morning, July 1. It appears the vandals tossed aluminum and glass bottles of beer over the fence.

Upon recommendation from the city’s pool representative, the water had to be completely drained in order to allow the crew to sweep up and remove broken shards of glass.

It may have only been four to six cans of beer, but it was enough to close the whole pool.

“We can have hundreds of people coming through some days, plus we had Fourth of July weekend coming up,” said Director Heath. “We have pool parties that will have to be cancelled.”

“It takes away a service that we offer for people to be able to gather, cool down and enjoy their families,” he said.

Unfortunately, the incident occurred right before Fourth of July weekend, a beautiful two days where the temperature hovered around 80 degrees.

Draining the pool takes a couple days, while cleaning up the glass took another day. Refilling takes time as well and the city can’t simply use everything in the water towers.

Their concern, of course, is that patrons would either step on glass shards or swallow them while swimming if it isn’t cleaned.

The pool hasn’t had a closure this long since flood water overfilled the pool two years ago during a rainstorm that wreaked havoc over the whole town in June, 2015.

Hopefully all will be up and running by the following weekend. It’s a busy time for the West Liberty pool with the heat and the annual Fair Parade and Picnic in the Park to occur on July 16.
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