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Chicago Park District announces opening of 37 of 77 pools on Tuesday

Some Chicago residents may have to travel to an open pool this summer
Some Chicago residents may have to travel to an open pool this summer 02:09

CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Park District announced it will open only 37 of its 77 pools starting on Tuesday.

The park district blamed a shortage of lifeguards and said it could only hire about 55% of its targeted number of qualified seasonal lifeguards, according to a news release.

Chicago Park District announces opening of 37 of 77 pools on Tuesday 02:46

The district will move some beach lifeguards to make up for the shortage and limit access to smaller beaches. The city said every resident will be able to find an open pool within two miles of their home.

 "Neighborhood pools are incredibly valuable resources for our residents and families, providing recreation and relief from the summer heat," said General Superintendent Rosa Escareño in a statement. "This plan allows us to maximize our limited workforce to open as many pools as possible so that families across the city have access to and can enjoy neighborhood pools this summer as well as the beaches."

But CBS 2 identified some areas where residents will have to travel farther than two miles to find an open pool, a difficult trip for some without a car.

The Chicago Park District declined a request for an interview, but said in a statement, "Some community areas do not have pools making it difficult to achieve the two mile radius. In these instances, the district did its best to identify the closest pools in neighboring communities."

Darryiel Bailey, a Marquette Park resident and mother, said she bought her young daughter a pool for their porch because she loves the water. She said the park district should stop "selling dreams to kids."

"Kids really look forward to (pools opening)," Bailey said. "We don't do the old busting down the fire hydrants these days. It's hot. Everyone wants to be in water, water balloons, water fights. Kids love water so I think they should really take the initiative to actually put them closer."

The Chicago Park District added it is still actively recruiting lifeguards to work this summer, so it's possible more pools may open up.

The 37 pools set to open citywide include 15 indoor and 22 outdoor pools.

The district will open four larger pools at Portage Park, Humbolt Park, McKinley Park and Norwood Park to accommodate more visitors. The remaining pools will be small to mid-size pools.

Most pools will be open to the public five days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Days of operation will be determined by park hours and staff capacity.

The Chicago Park District announced it will open about half of its pools starting Tuesday due to a lifeguard shortage. CBS
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