‘Nowhere for the children to go’: Unexpected bills threaten decades-old community pool in Newport News

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Summer is still months away, but the sun may be setting on a community swimming pool in Newport News. 

The pool has been in the Denbigh neighborhood for decades, but it’s in danger of closing for good due to unexpected bills.

10 On Your Side spoke with residents who said they’re facing a fast deadline. 

An unforeseen setback has the Windsor Great Park Association trying to raise money by April – but they need $30,000 to open the pool for another season. 

Since 1965, the Denbigh neighborhood has been making a splash at Windsor Great Park Pool. Over the last four decades, the pool has been the site of birthdays, retirement parties and even engagements. 

“We have movies, we have barbecues and all sorts of things just to try to get a good sense of community here,” said Sean Chatterton. 

“We love it here and we’re just so saddened that we’ve had this setback,” said Joan Call, a member of the pool for 25 years. 

That setback started last summer when members discovered a leak due to a broken water pipe – but the repair wasn’t the issue. 

“It caused an $8,000 water bill which also included an $8,000 sewage bill,” said Bryan Tunstall, association president. 

The pool association is run by residents who volunteer their time and money to maintain the pool.

Tunstall said they tried negotiating the water bill but had no luck. 

On top of that, the clubhouse needs a new roof.

Now, the place that brought so many memories could soon be a memory itself. 

“I’ve already got an Outback dinner going for our first fundraiser, yard sales, but those are hundreds of dollars and we need thousands at this point,” said Call. 

“My kids have grown up here with other kids, they’ve made a lot of friends,” Chatterton said. 

10 On Your Side is told the pool not only offered work and learning opportunities for the youth, it also kept them out of trouble. 

Tunstall said if it closes, the swim team would go with it. 

“That’s what we’re trying to prevent, if we cannot pay our bills, we will not be able to open the pool. There will be nowhere for the children to go,” he said. 

The association is brainstorming other fundraising ideas. If you’d like to help, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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