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Timeline to drain closed KCK pool unclear despite near drowning

Teen on life support after incident
Parkwood Pool
Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 23:47:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Some community members are set to protest the Unified Government of Wyandotte County's decision to keep the city's only public pool, Parkwood Pool on Quindaro Boulevard, locked up for another summer.

"With the pool being closed and everything, kids jump the fence all the time," David Grigsby, who owns a barbershop cross the street from the Parkwood Pool, said. "I come over, I tried to tell him to get out pool, you know, but with the water being in the pool, and it’s not open, what are your kids going to do? They're going to jump the fence."

It's what one teenager recently did with his friends. A rookie firefighter rescued him after he was underwater in the deep end for around 10 minutes.

Over the weekend, 41 Action News learned the 13-year-old is brain dead and on life support.

"It’s heartbreaking," Angel Obert, assistant parks and recreation director for the Unified Government, said. "It's not something you ever want to hear."

Although the pool isn't open, Obert said it's filled with water to perform routine maintenance.

Despite the near drowning, there isn't a definitive timeline on when crews will drain the pool.

"There are discussion happening right now," Obert said. "They happened as soon as the incident occurred. It's not something that we take lightly, and you know, we're doing our best to address it as quickly as we can."

Because the Unified Government has a fence around the pool, padlocks at the gates around the perimeter and no trespassing signs, legal experts said they are clear of any liabilities unless there is an instance of gross negligence.

"There’s always going to be a way for somebody to get into a public pool if they really are determined to do exactly that," Greg Watt, attorney at the Watt Law Firm, said.

The precautions the UG took are something homeowners with pools should do as well, according to Watt.

"You need to ask yourself, is it readily apparent that we're trying to protect the public, we're trying to protect ourselves, and especially in the instance of kids, that there is something that is going to prevent a toddler or a child from wandering in there and falling in the pool?" Watt said.

A neighbor’s pool might be the best way for some in KCK to stay cool this summer.

"We have full intentions on opening Parkwood for 2022, as long as everything surrounding the pandemic allows us to do so," Obert said.

Community members are planning a protest at noon Friday at the Parkwood Pool.