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State Senator Patricia Van Pelt

5th Senate District

jay wennington e370j8S8 Yw unsplashCHICAGO – Several pool opening this summer are in jeopardy due to a shortage in lifeguards, and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt is calling for more lifeguards as well as increased resources for community aquatic programs.

“It’s officially summer time, it’s hot, and people want to be in the water. However, many pools are set to close if there are no lifeguards to guard them,” said Van Pelt (D-Chicago). “Our communities have an urgent need for more lifeguards, or many will not be able to cope with this intense heat and enjoy time at the pool.”

Pools are a popular destination for summer recreational activities, especially for teens in Chicago’s Westside neighborhoods like North Lawndale and Austin, which Van Pelt represents.

The Chicago Park District recently pushed back its target date to open pools from June 24 to July 5, with increased efforts to hire enough staff at the city’s 77 indoor and outdoor pools.

To attract more job candidates, the Chicago Park District is offering new lifeguards a $600 signing bonus and has lifted the city residency requirement. Additionally, $500 bonuses are being offered to ParkDistrict employees who refer someone who becomes a lifeguard.

“A signing bonus is a good incentive, but efforts to recruit more staff can’t stop there,” Van Pelt said. “Lifeguards will need adequate salaries to help encourage the filling of positions in times of need, and these spots need increased investments in pool and swimming programs.”

COVID-19, insufficient pay, substandard pool quality, and fear of another abuse scandal have all been cited as reasons contributing to the city’s lifeguard shortage.

Chicago Park District Superintendent Rosa Escareño is working to rebuild trust amongst the community by putting a lot of additional supervisory efforts into all programs, especially the aquatics program.
Anyone interested in applying as a seasonal lifeguard can apply at the Chicago Park District’s website.


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Office Info

Springfield Office:
Stratton Office Building
Section C, Room P
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-6252

District Office:
1016 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 888-9191
(312) 277-3716 FAX