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Philadelphia begins opening public pools ahead of brutal heat wave

City of Philadelphia opens 3 pools just in time for heat wave
City of Philadelphia opens 3 pools just in time for heat wave 03:00

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The City of Philadelphia opened three public pools on Monday, just in time for the upcoming heat wave.

Philadelphia council president Kenyatta Johnson and two neighborhood children, 9-year-old Averie Billups and 12-year-old Ashton Billups, celebrated opening day by taking part in the ceremonial first jump at Chew Playground in Point Breeze.

"It felt really good and the pool wasn't really cold," Averie said.

Chew Playground is one of 60 pools the city will be opening on a rolling basis over the next several weeks.

"This is the pool that I started off in and the pool I learned how to swim in," Eagles superfan Monty G. from South Philadelphia said. "I'm definitely going to come through here and bring my grandchildren and have them get into the water, and we're going to enjoy this nice, hot weather now."

City pools play a vital role in Philadelphia, giving kids a place to have fun and cool off in the sweltering heat.

"I feel like it's a good thing that they're opening because it's very hot out," Quinn Smith, 11, said. 

Kenyatta Johnson takes ceremonial first jump at Chew Playground as city begins opening public pools 02:06

Quinn and her 5-year-old brother Benjamin were among the first people to swim at Chew Playground.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation says it was able to recruit 350 lifeguards to staff the pools this summer but could use 50 more.

"We've offered bonuses, training for free so they've been given a lot of opportunity," Dunne said.

Parks & Rec is planning to use these pools to host swim lessons for 6,000 summer campers. Organizers hope one day, some of those kids will come back to work for the city as lifeguards.

"Pools are open traditionally from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.," Anne Marie Dunne, deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, said. "Throughout the city, where there are gaps, we have spraygrounds and sprinklers in our facility our well, so they're another way for people to cool off during summer."

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