Chicago Pools Will Open At Least 11 Days Late Because of Lifeguard Shortage, Officials Say | Chicago News

The Chicago Park District’s River Park, located in Lincoln Square. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)The Chicago Park District’s River Park, positioned in Lincoln Sq.. (Patty Wetli / WTTW Information)

Swimming pools operated by the Chicago Park District will open at the least 11 days late due to a scarcity of lifeguards, officers stated Friday morning.

Park District officers acknowledged to WTTW Information that it had not been capable of rent sufficient lifeguards to permit its 49 out of doors swimming pools to open as scheduled on June 24, blaming a “nationwide scarcity” and “a number of different components.” 

Seashores opened as scheduled on Might 27 and have been the one supply of aid for Chicagoans throughout this month’s intense warmth wave that broke data that stood for greater than three a long time.

These “different components” embody the revelation that the management of the Chicago Park District failed to analyze dozens of complaints of lifeguard abuse, assault and harassment at Chicago’s swimming pools and seashores. The scandal prompted the ouster of the district’s commissioner, board president, chief packages officer, assistant director of recreation and the supervisor of the park district’s seashores and swimming pools unit.

Chicago Parks Superintendent Rosa Escareño has led the company since October, and pledged to assist the district emerge from the scandal. Escareño created the Workplace of Prevention and Accountability, which has a $600,000 finances and is charged with stopping misconduct and investigating allegations of misconduct by park staff and patrons.

Town’s swimming pools are actually set to open on July 5, after the Independence Day vacation weekend, officers stated. Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether or not the district will be capable to rent sufficient employees by then.

“Over the subsequent week, we are going to proceed to guage staffing numbers to find out a plan for summer season pool operations,” based on an announcement launched by the park district.

Michele Lemons, a spokesperson for the Chicago Park District, declined to inform WTTW Information what number of vacant seasonal lifeguard positions the district is attempting to fill and what number of everlasting lifeguard positions are vacant. WTTW Information filed a Freedom of Data Act request to acquire that knowledge.

Efforts to spice up the variety of lifeguards with an promoting marketing campaign and $500 signing bonuses failed to stop the opening of the swimming pools from being delayed. Lifeguards are paid $15.88 an hour, simply barely greater than town’s minimal wage of $15 per hour.

Lower than 24 hours earlier than acknowledging the swimming pools wouldn’t open on time, park district officers elevated the signing bonus to $600.

Officers additionally briefly relaxed the residency requirement for lifeguard candidates, and supplied $500 bonuses to park district staff who refer certified lifeguard candidates, who should pay $80 to finish an American Purple Cross lifeguard coaching course and be totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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