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When problem-plagued Petersburg pool will open

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Neighbors are hoping a closed Petersburg pool will soon reopen for the season after triple digit heat indices baked Central Virginia this week.

Six-year-old Sekiihya Bland asks her grandmother the same question every day.

"Can I go to the pool?" Sekiihya said.

The little girl said her grandmother's response is always the same:  "No. Because it is a big problem," the little girl recounted.

Sekiihya Bland

Sekiihya Bland

Fixing the Problem

Dean McCray, the electrical contractor working on the Farmer Street Pool, agreed the facility is facing some major issues.

"There had been some vandalism," McCray said. "The grounding system had been cut on the outside of the building and somebody had tried to take the power meter off the wall."

McCray said the city reached out to him in late June about getting the pool open. He said he understands why there is a need.

"I went to community pools like this one when I was a kid," he said. "If they were closed, I'd been devastated."

McCray said the repairs also come with some new code improvements.

That means all the metal near the pool, the ladders and lifeguard stands, will have to be grounded.

"We did a ground integrity test on the pool and it failed miserably, so a new grounding system is being installed."

To help make sure the repair process is expedited, both the electricians and subcontractors have agreed to work through the weekend.

Once the work is completed, McCray is hopeful the pool could reopen as early as next weekend.

Grandmother:  People can't afford to go to the beach

Sonia Smith, who swam in the same pool her granddaughter now asks about every day, said the pool opened late last year and was only open about a month before school started back.

Smith said the pool is vital for the community.

"It is really important because I mean, it's nothing to do around here really," she said. "A lot of people can't really afford to go to the beach."

Smith was befuddled about the lack of information provided to the community by the city's department of parks and leisure.

"Really and truly they're not giving us no insight on why the pool is not opening," Smith said.

Smith said there is another important reason the pool on Farmer Street Pool needs to open.

"This is the only one that's left and we really really need this pool here in this community for the kids," she pleaded.

As for the children who live nearby, Sekiihya Bland said she hopes it is fixed soon."

"Because every little kid in this world might want to come to the pool," the six-year-old said.