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Philadelphia Officials Announce Some City Pools Opening This Week

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia officials announced some of the city's pools are opening this week, but not all of them. It's hot out and it would be great to jump into a pool and cool off. That's what kids are really looking forward to.

But, Philadelphia's public pools are opening on a rolling basis, beginning Wednesday, June 30. Some pools won't open until later like the Athletic Recreation Center. The pool needs to be cleaned and filled before it opens on July 10.

Almost 50 city pools will open this summer, but more than two dozen pools will not open because the city is having difficulty hiring lifeguards.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department says it's been working around the clock to hire pool staff.

Starting pay for lifeguards was increased to $15 an hour, and the city will pay for the Red Cross Lifeguard Certification.

Still, Mayor Jim Kenney says the extra weekly federal unemployment benefits are essentially making people not want to work.

"Every industry in the country is having difficulty getting people to go to work," Mayor Kenney said.

Across the country, more than half of states are ending the extra federal unemployment benefits early, before they expire in September, according to The Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think-tank based in Harrisburg.

"It made sense to give some additional benefits. But that time has passed us now and it's time for us to start seeing people get back to work, it's time to focus on the economic recovery and not paying people who can work and should work to stay at home," said Nathan Benefield with The Commonwealth Foundation.

In Philly, the city's Parks and Rec department says the nearly 50 pools that are opening this season were based on several factors, like past pool usage and neighborhood need. And if more lifeguards are hired, more pools could open. But that may be a longshot.

"I suspect when the assistance runs out in September people will start getting -- but that's not gonna solve our problem this summer," Mayor Kenney said.

Eyewitness News asked the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's office if it is considering ending the extra federal unemployment benefits early.

They did not answer our question but instead sent a lengthy response that reads, in part: some unemployed people are "placing a higher value on pursuing higher-quality jobs that pay higher wages..."

Meantime, if you're looking to cool off before the city's pools open, sprinklers and spraygrounds are already open. Click here to see the locations.

Click here for the full list of city pools opening this summer.

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