A.D. Lewis pool reopens
HUNTINGTON -- Less than two full days after vandals burned equipment, dumped chemicals into the pool and tagged the pool house with graffiti, the A.D. Lewis Community Center Pool was back open Tuesday with no hint of the damage done.
The facility, closed since Monday, reopened at about 2 p.m. to the relief of kids and parents who had been hoping to use Huntington's only public pool during one of the hottest weeks of the summer so far.
"I'm just happy for the kids, because a big part of their summer is being able to go to the pool," said A.D. Lewis director Maria Hill. "There's been a playground full of people just waiting in hope because they didn't know if it would open. I didn't know if it would open."
The suspects vandalized the pool sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
Pool noodles -- long, cylinder-shaped floating toys -- were set on fire and thrown into the pool. The suspects also burned all of the chemical test kits, meaning the center had no way of checking chemical balances in the pool. The pool house was covered in orange graffiti, and the chemicals dumped into the water made it unsafe for swimming.
The same suspects are believed to have damaged part of the Northcott Court housing development and to have tagged a neighboring business with graffiti.
They were caught on surveillance footage, and Huntington Communications Director Bryan Chambers said police are still analyzing the video and hope to make arrests.
Holiday Pools stepped in and has provided the pool with test strips until new ones that have been ordered arrive.
Hill said volunteers and workers with Sherwin Williams painted over the graffiti in a matter of hours on Monday.
The vandals left a note that read "I'm sorry, we were just having fun."
Hill called the incident "sad."
"They may have had fun for a couple of hours, but those couple of hours cost the kids days," she said.
The incident has been viewed as particularly egregious by city officials, because Marathon Oil donated parts and labor totaling more than $100,000 to get the pool open this year, with many other city workers and volunteers contributing toward the effort.
Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD.
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