KC Parks and Rec changes course, hoping to open 3 pools — if they can hire dozens of lifeguards

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Here’s cool news, just in time for the ongoing summertime heatwave.

Kansas City Parks and Rec leaders hope to open three public swimming pools after all, something they’d originally ruled against during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Parks and Rec told FOX4 they’ll need to hire 50 lifeguards before the pools can open.

If those workers can be hired, three pools — Gorman Park, Swope Park and Grove Park — would open, observing pandemic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“We don’t have enough staff right now to open the pools,” said Doug Schroder, an administrative officer with Kansas City government.

When the pandemic forced educators to close schools in March, Schroder’s recruiting efforts lost their best talent pool.

To qualify for the lifeguard positions, Schroder said applicants must be 16 years old and experienced swimmers. He said his office will train selected applicants and get them certified, if needed.

‘We’re doing recertification, and we’re also doing certification training. Right now, we’re covering all costs,” Schroder said. “We’re trying to eliminate as meant obstacles as we can and get kids in here to work.”

Kansas City’s 12 public pools are maintained by Midwest Pool Management. That company helps staff lifeguards at swimming facilities and spraygrounds. 

“A lot of high schoolers are struggling,” said Zach Adams, a returning lifeguard. “They either don’t have a job, necessarily at the restaurants that aren’t open right now. We have plenty of hours and positions to go around.”

The city hopes to open those three pools by the Fourth of July weekend. If you’re interested, you can apply at this website. You can also get more information by calling 816-350-2628.

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