Richmond city pools open for the summer

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is opening its outdoor pools today, as the kids kick off the first day of summer.

A few years ago, a teenager died at the Blackwell Community Pool after police say he hopped the fence when the pool was closed. That just shows the dangerous reality of what can happen during the summer months.

So, for years, leaders in Richmond have been working to ensure this summer is a safe one.

The final preps are underway here at the Blackwell Community Pool. Lateshia Miles is thinking safety for her kids, including 6 year old Kory.

"It's very dangerous. I don't know how to swim myself so I'll be sort of jumpy!" says Miles.

She's at the community center early to drop off Kory for swimming lessons. "At the community center, they are going to teach the kids how to swim so I wont be as afraid as if I was here by myself," says Miles.

Red cross certified lifeguard will be on staff at every pool. "They know their job and they know what we expect. They take it very seriously. It is not a summer job as a lifeguard, it's their job to monitor not only the water but the desk too to keep the kids safe," says J.R. Pope, Director of Parks and Rec in Richmond.

Also, the crews will test the water every hour to make sure it is safe for your kids.

"Staff usually on the hour will do water checks because the pool will fluctuate during the day because of the sun, the bathing load, suntan oil and the whole nine yards," adds Pope.

And when the pool is closed, it's important to make sure no one hops the fence, because the city is hoping to avoid the tragedy from back in 2007. That's when a teenager hopped the fence and drowned here at the Blackwell pool.

"Just don't do it! it's not worth it," says Pope.

This, as Lateshia hopes this summer gets kicked off the right way and stays safe. "Something to keep you cool and get you out of the house!"

Lifeguards also say they can clear the pool if there are just too many kids and adults in it, at one time.

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