Potter Pool vandalized, temporarily closed

Vandals broke into the Potter Park swimming pool overnight Monday, throwing trash into the pool and breaking equipment. The pool will be temporarily closed while repairs are made. (CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

City officials temporarily closed Potter Pool on Tuesday due to damage incurred during a vandalism spree.

Neil Lambert, City of Clovis parks superintendent, said the incidents took place on Sunday and Monday nights.

He said an unidentified person or persons climbed over the pool’s chain link fence Sunday night and threw equipment into the pool.

Pool employees repaired the minor damages and placed equipment out of reach.

On Monday night, vandals threw trash cans from the park into the water and, this time, irreversibly damaged a skimmer, which clears the pool of debris, and five float plate water regulators by “stomping on them” and “throwing them against the wall,” Lambert said.

“We spent over a million dollars to get the pool up and running,” Lambert said from his pickup parked near the pool. “Then for them to come in and do something stupid like that. It’s the nicest park in town. They are doing stuff like this in their own neighborhood — that’s what really upsets me.”

Just as lamentable, Lambert said the pool opened only a few weeks ago, that delay due to a shortage of lifeguards. Although Lambert said pool replacement parts should arrive by Wednesday, repairing the damage will cost the city more than $400.

City Manager Joe Thomas said he expects the pool to open before the end of the week.

A police report provided by Sgt. James Schoeffel of the Clovis Police Department outlined the extensive vandalism, which includes damage to equipment that “regulates the water level,” the pool fence, a lifeguard seat, and the slide’s water line. The trash cans that were thrown into the pool, Schoeffel said, polluted the pool’s water. A large grate in the deep end of the pool was also partially removed.

The second act of vandalism occurred somewhere between 6 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Schoeffel said. Police, he added, have no leads or suspects at this time. In response to the incident, Schoeffel said surveillance of the area will increase.

“I really am kind of surprised. This is the first incidence of this magnitude of vandalism the pool has seen in years,” said Thomas, referring to the burning of two portable toilets on pool property, which occurred, he said, about five years ago. “Generally people over there appreciate the park and the pool. This just takes away from the community — the kids ability to have fun in the summer.”