Wyandotte County hosting lifeguard recruitment event as community plans protest to open pool

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Department of Parks and Recreation in Wyandotte County is planning to host a recruitment event on Friday, June 18, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Parkwood Pool located at 950 Quindaro Boulevard for its summer Lifeguard Training Program.

The Unified Government said this is a paid work-study program for county swimmers ages 16 or older interested in being a certified lifeguard and is designed to prepare Parkwood Pool to open for the 2022 season.

The event is happening at the same time community members are planning to protest against the parks department for not opening the pool for the 2021 season.

The Parks and Recreation Department announced in May that Parkwood Pool, the only public swimming pool in Kansas City, Kansas, would not be opening for summer 2021 because of the difficulty to recruit lifeguards and other key staff when schools were closed during the pandemic and labor shortages are prevalent across the region.

On June 6, a small group of kids jumped a fence at Parkwood Pool. One of the kids, a 13-year-old boy, jumped into the deep end of the pool but couldn’t make his way out, according to the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office. He spent several minutes under the water before being rescued by the KCK Fire Department.

The sheriff’s office said the teen was taken to Children’s Mercy. On Monday the teen was found to have no brain activity and remains on life support.

County Administrator Doug Bach sent a letter to UG employees last week stating that it has been a difficult two years for the pool with it not opening due to COVID-19 in 2020 and the lifeguard shortage in 2021 and it was important to check if everything was still functioning or risk costs ballooning as the pool itself is quite old.

Bach said they are still weighing next steps for this summer.

The community says more needs to be done for youth as this is the only swimming option for kids in the area.

The county does have three spray parks open for the summer at Eisenhower Park, Pierson Park and Heathwood Park.

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