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Only two outdoor pools opening this summer in Louisville despite lifeguard shortage

Metro Officials say that there are two pools in need of serious repair, meaning families will be limited on where they can swim.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Only two public outdoor pools will open this weekend in Louisville for Memorial Day.

Metro Parks officials said that this season the pool at Nelson Hornbeck Park in Fairdale and the Sun Valley Pool will open, while the Algonquin Pool and the Camp Nelson Pool will be closed all season long.

Metro Parks Administrator for Aquatics and Athletics, Keith Smith, says that the Algonquin and Camp Taylor pools are in serious need of repair and renovation. 

Smith says that the parks department has the funds secured and are now in the process of coming up with plans and finding the right company to rebuild these pools.

But in the meantime, families will run into the consequences of only having two outdoor public pools available in the city.

“You’re talking about the heat; it’s going to be even hotter than normal this year. We need a place to go to have fun and to swim and that’s what our pools offer,” Smith said. “That shows the need for these other two pools to get redone so that we do have those four pools when we are able to open them back up.”

Each pool will have a capacity cap. Once that cap is reached, officials will stop people from entering until space is freed up.

Smith encourages everyone to plan not to leave the pools once they arrive because of the possibility of more people coming to the two open outdoor pools.

All of this comes under the shadow of a lifeguard shortage which could also impact the summer pool experience for people in Metro Louisville.

Smith says that they’ve had a shortage of lifeguards for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic made the problem worse.

“We’re finding that we have a lot of interest but for some reason, they’re not showing up after they sign up for classes, or when they show up for class they don’t meet the criteria to be lifeguards,” Smith said.

He says that this year they may need even more lifeguards because of rule changes.

In previous seasons metro parks needed to make sure that they had at least one lifeguard for every 2,000 sqft. of pool or 250 patrons. This season, that patrons exception is gone.

“We had to hire a third party to come in to do tests, zone testing, on how many seconds it took for a lifeguard to get from point A to point B. We have to, lifeguards have to be able to reach the victim in 20 seconds. So with that in mind we did a study,” Smith said.

“You’re going to see more lifeguards sitting and more lifeguards walking around the pool,” he continued.

Smith says that they will be planning to host more lifeguard training courses throughout the summer to try and keep up with the need.

Metro Pools will be open Memorial Day weekend and then close until June 3rd.

They will begin their summer schedule on June 3rd. During the summer Fairdale Pool will be open all days of the week except for Mondays and Sun Valley will close on Wednesdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission will be $2 for ages 12 and under and $3 for anyone aged 13 and over.

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