For the second straight summer, a severe lifeguard shortage in the Denver metro area is delaying the opening of public pools and restricting hours.
Why it matters: Pools offer respite from the scorching heat, and city leaders have said recreation centers can help young people stay busy and safe in what is expected to be a violent summer.
Details: Five indoor pools across Denver — Ashland, Central Park, Scheitler, Twentieth Street and Washington Park — will be temporarily closed because the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has fewer than half the necessary lifeguards to operate all 30 pools at full capacity.
- Other pools, including the Montclair Recreation Center and La Alma Lincoln Park, remain closed for maintenance and repairs.
What you say: The city said it selected the five indoor pools to temporarily close based on several factors including fairness, usage and proximity to other pools.
- The closures allow the parks department to focus on operating the outdoor pools.
Remarkable: Denver’s outdoor pool season officially begins June 13 to allow time for additional lifeguard certification courses. The season usually begins on June 6, city parks and recreation spokeswoman Cyndi Karvaski told Axios Denver.
Zoom out: Other swimming pools in the greater area open for the summer season with restrictions:
- Aurora’s six public outdoor pools are open with limited hours due to staff shortages.
- And in Boulder, Scott Carpenter Pool opened its busy summer schedule on Tuesday — but Spruce Pool will close this summer because the city was only able to hire 90 of the 140 lifeguards needed for “ideal” operations.
The big picture: Across the country, cities like Austin, Chicago, Philadelphia and the Twin Cities face similar lifeguard deficits.
- The guard shortage could prevent more than 300,000 public pools from opening nationwide, according to the American Lifeguard Association.