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City of Buffalo's outdoor swimming pools won't open this summer due to 'severe lifeguard shortage'


Tue, Jun 28th 2022 03:40 pm

City will extend weekday & weekend hours – and eliminate fees – at its two indoor pools to maximize swimming opportunities for residents

The City of Buffalo’s nine outdoor swimming pools will remain closed this summer due to the shortage of certified lifeguards, which is impacting pools and beaches across the nation, and in Western New York.

“The decision to not open our outdoor pools this summer came down to the safety and welfare of our residents,” Mayor Byron Brown said. “We realize this decision will disappoint the hundreds of youngsters and adults who enjoy spending summer hours at our outdoor swimming pools, but the bottom-line is we don’t have the number of lifeguards required to keep our residents safe.”

He added, “We are very pleased to announce that we are waiving fees, and extending weekday and weekend hours at our Cazenovia Park and Lovejoy Park indoor pools, from July 1 through Labor Day, Sept. 5, to maximize access to swimming opportunities.”

Brown also said a request was sent to the Buffalo Common Council to raise lifeguard pay to $20 an hour, from the current $16 an hour, in an effort to retain and attract additional lifeguards. The city will also offer free lifeguard training this summer.

“Over the past nearly six months, we’ve worked in partnership with the Police Athletic League of Buffalo in an unprecedented effort to hire certified lifeguards, including raising pay and running our own lifeguard training classes, but were still unable to hire the staff required to safely open our outdoor pools,” said Andrew Rabb, deputy commissioner of parks and recreation.

A press release noted, “Starting in January, the city engaged in multiple efforts to attract, train and hire certified lifeguards, knowing it would be impacted by the national, regional and local lifeguard shortage. Those efforts included: City staff actively recruiting for new lifeguards since last fall, outreach to previous lifeguard staff, posting the lifeguard positions on the city’s jobs page, active outreach at local swim meets, and continuous contact with swim programs at Buffalo’s public charter, and public schools.

“In partnership with the Police Athletic League of Buffalo, the city offered two highly publicized lifeguard certification sessions in March and April.”

Rabb said, “Despite all our efforts, we were only able to hire 22 additional lifeguards. In 2019, the last summer city outdoor pools were open due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a lifeguard staff of 80.”

The National Lifeguard Association and American Red Cross estimate between one-third and one-half of pools and beaches across the U.S. will remain closed this summer due to the ongoing lifeguard shortage.

From July 1 through Sept. 5, the schedules for the city’s two indoor pools will be:

  • Cazenovia Pool, 626 Abbott Road, Monday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday – closed, Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Lovejoy Pool, 1171 E. Lovejoy St., Monday – closed, Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday - 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ten of the city’s 11 splash pads debuted for the 2022 season on May 29. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., through Labor Day, weather-permitting.

The Allison Park splash pad will open as soon as pump repairs are complete.

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