WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — One day after the City of Wichita closed Aley Park swimming pool because of extensive damage, a City spokesperson said the pool is ready for swimmers again.
“Aley would be open today if not for the weather,” Megan Lovely, City communications manager, said.
Someone set fire to the pool sunshades and chairs early Wednesday morning, causing $53,000 in damage.
The damage comes after someone vandalized some City splash pads. Six of the splash pads were closed earlier this week. Some were due to vandalism. Some had mechanical issues.
Lovely said that the vandalized Linwood Splash pad is the only splash pad still closed as of Thursday afternoon. Copper needs to be replaced in the restrooms and the pump house.
During a news conference Thursday morning, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said the City is taking the crimes seriously.
“We’re very proud of our assets, and someone wants to go and burn it down,” he said. “We will use every resource we have to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.”
The City plans to install security cameras at the Aley Park pool. In the meantime, Wichita Park and Recreation asked police to increase patrols in the area.
“We’re really mad about this,” Whipple said. “We’re very upset about this because the majority of us, not only do we put a lot into the budget process and we put a lot into making sure that Wichita is as great a city as it can be, but most of us on the council have school-age kids. We know what it’s like when you go, and you promise a 9-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old that tomorrow we’re going to go to the splash pad and how great it’s going to be and to show up and that pad is closed.”
The mayor said the vandalism was much more than childish pranks.
“I think intent with this vandalism is really shocking when you get into the details,” Whipple said. “This was a sophisticated … vandalism … that again cost thousands of dollars in repairs.”
“Our kids should be able to go out to our splash pads and our pools and enjoy themselves and build memories, and you know it’s just disgusting,” he said.
Click here to get information about Wichita aquatic facilities.