HICKORY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Kool Park Pool opened in 1935 and has been a community staple in Hickory ever since.

Twice this summer, someone has tried to destroy things for the community, and the owner says she will not let that happen.

“I really felt like just sitting down and crying,” said owner Gaylene Carpenter. “But that’s not going to take care of anything. You just have to buckle up and say, alright, one foot forward, get it done, and get it opened back up.”

The damage occurred on Sunday; Carpenter has owned the pool for over 35 years. She was open during COVID and knows it’s the perfect place for many families to cool off on a summer day.

“If I didn’t get this place open every year, it would just break my heart,” said Carpenter.

Visitors explained how much the pool means to them and their families.

“Jump off the rocks and the diving boards,” said one swimmer with his family.

“I’ve been coming here with my family since I was really little,” added Judah Cline as he arrived with his family. “I learned to swim here. I come with friends sometimes.”

Workers were able to recover two lifeguard stations damaged at Kool Park Pool. They also spent two hours fishing out a picnic table, benches, and chairs.

There are cameras around the building.

“No, we didn’t see a thing,” said Carpenter. “I’m going to investigate the fact I need to upgrade my cameras.”

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office has been coming by and is investigating. There are a lot of people depending on the pool being open. 

Carpenter also offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to whoever committed the alleged crime.

“I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do,” added Carpenter. “I don’t care if I have to have security down here every night. I’m going to do what it takes to keep this place in one piece for all of us.”

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Call the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office if you have any information about the crime.