Chicago’s 77 public pools set to open by June 23

The pools, 50 outdoor and 27 indoor, will be opened at least five days a week.

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Pool Cornell Square Park Back of the Yards

The Chicago Park District said it began recruiting lifeguards for the city’s pools in October, much earlier than usual.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

All of Chicago’s 77 public pools will be opened by June 23 after a lifeguard hiring binge by the Chicago Park District. Only half of the pools were opened last summer due to a citywide lifeguard shortage.

As of this week, 300 lifeguards are in training, and the Park District is working to onboard new lifeguards and summer recreation leaders.

Andy Walsh, manager of beaches and pools for the Park District, said the district strengthened its hiring efforts for lifeguards this year.

During the Park District’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Walsh said the district started recruiting in October, much earlier than usual. As of May 31, more than 1,800 people had applied for lifeguard positions, compared with 850 applications by the same date last year.

The Park District’s efforts included partnering with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago to recruit students as lifeguards; offering incentives, including a $600 bonus for completing training; relaxing the residency policy; and removing fees for registration and certification.

“I’m really encouraged by the increase in applicants. What we are doing to better align and collaborate with Chicago Public Schools, I think that is going to continue for the better,” said Myetie Hamilton, president of the Park District’s Board of Commissioners.

The Park District has started filling pools around the city, and the goal is to open every indoor and outdoor pool by June 23. The pools will be opened at least five days a week, Walsh said.

The pools will close for the year Aug. 20, the day before school starts for Chicago Public Schools. The city’s beaches, which opened in May, will close on Labor Day.

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