ST. LOUIS – Crowds gathered to protest over a closed public pool Friday as children and teens ask the City of St. Louis to reopen the swimming pool in Fairground Park.

The pool closed in May after it was vandalized and damaged. With heavy cleanup and repairs anticipated, the pool did not open as planned on Memorial Day weekend. Entering the first week of August, it remains closed. 

Kids from Camp Sun Splash, ranging in age from 4 to 18, marched outside City Hall on Friday morning. 

“It’d been closed since camp started, and now we got to go to a different pool,” said Shaelin Smith with Camp Sun Splash.

Velma Bailey is the founder of the St. Louis Torchbearers 2, which sponsors the camp. She said they’ve had to take four buses a day to get to a pool. 

The summer program is 10 weeks long, and they said it includes going to the pool often. 

“We just really be wanting the pool open because like I said that’s our schedule,” said Azoria McCoy with Camp Sun Splash.

“It’s been a little rough trying to catch the bus on time. How long have we’ve had to sit there, and just overall transitioning to a different pool?,” said Thomas Rander with Camp Sun Splash.

“Our pool did not open this year at the same time that the other pools opened on Memorial Day in the city,” said Bailey. “And we have been without a pool from the Riverview Circle all the way to Page this entire summer.” 

Back in May, the mayor’s office said much of the metal components in the pool, like plumbing, pool filtration and sinks, had suffered major damage when they were vandalized. 

Bailey said there is a great need for safe, supervised locations for children and families in the city. 

“And that’s what the city and the region’s looking for. There are role models there with lifeguards for the children, and there’s also a park ranger or two there every day,” she said.

“If they don’t open it up to the public, they can at least open it up to us because it’s like right next to where we be at,” said Smith.

 A spokesperson for the city sent FOX 2 this statement:

“The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry strives to ensure its pools are operational and accessible to the public throughout the summer. After being notified of the significant theft and vandalism to the Fairgrounds Pool earlier this year, the City immediately sprung into action to begin making the necessary repairs. To date, the masonry and electrical work has been completed, along with new security upgrades to the facility including improved lighting and cameras. Plumbing contractors are currently waiting on the delivery of toilet fixtures from the manufacturer for the pool locker room.  Once they are received the plumbing contractor will get them installed as quickly as possible.  We will provide further updates as they become available.”