CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Park District has delayed the opening of its public swimming pools till July 5, saying they’re nonetheless struggling to rent sufficient lifeguards, however some metropolis leaders aren’t shopping for it.
In Pilsen, the gates to Dvorak Park’s pool are closed, and the lifeguard chairs sit empty, with nobody on responsibility, as Jose Rodriguez hoped to take his nephew, Erik, to his neighborhood pool.
“Yeah, he likes swimming,” Rodriguez mentioned. “It might’ve been good, however solely the Park District is aware of. We’re not the bosses.”
The Park District says has mentioned the nationwide lifeguard scarcity is pushing pool openings again till not less than after July 4th, and from Pilsen to Palmer Park, the sprinklers are on, however the fountain is filled with particles, because the solar beats down on an empty pool.
“The place do the youngsters must go for the summer time?” mentioned father Victor Tatum, who worries the place younger adults will go and what they’re going to do with no place like this to hang around.
“If they do not have something to do, I imply they’ll discover one thing to do. It might not be the perfect factor to do, however they may discover one thing to do,” he mentioned.
To this point, efforts to spice up the variety of lifeguards with perks have failed to forestall delays.
Lifeguards are paid $15.88 an hour, simply barely greater than minimal wage, and fewer than 24 hours earlier than asserting the opening of swimming pools had been delayed till July 5, Park District officers elevated a signing bonus to $600.
The Chicago Park District manages 49 out of doors swimming pools and 28 indoor swimming pools. All of the swimming pools have been imagined to be open by June 24, however after that was delayed to July 5, some metropolis leaders fear the swimming pools will not open in any respect this summer time.
“The whole metropolis? All the swimming pools within the stock? It is not going to occur,” mentioned Ald. Anthony Beale (ninth).
Beale mentioned alderpersons throughout the town have been shocked in regards to the delay. He mentioned 1,600 lifeguards positions must be crammed. On prime of that, he mentioned it’ll take weeks to get chemical substances balanced within the swimming pools. In order that’s taking a look at August on the earliest for swimming pools to open.
“We have already advised the youngsters do not come downtown, as a result of we now have a curfew on you, so return to your neighborhood. So what are you coming again to? An empty pool?” he mentioned.
Beale mentioned it comes all the way down to poor planning.
“We all know June comes round each single 12 months. We all know these swimming pools must be open each single 12 months. We have to rent individuals each single 12 months. So any individual dropped the ball,” he mentioned.
In an announcement, the Chicago Park District mentioned they want time to recruit and implement a technique that can convey sources to as many communities as potential, and to check and onboard new hires.