Philadelphia begins opening city pools Wednesday, lifeguards in demand

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department began opening the city's outdoor pools on a rolling basis Wednesday.

Sixteen pools will be expected to open by this weekend, with another 31 scheduled open over the next few weeks.

Only about 70% of city pools will reopen this summer because of the nationwide lifeguard shortage and hiring challenges due to the pandemic.

The city says certain pools were selected based off of geography and past pool usage.

"Philadelphia public pools are a great way to cool down, have fun, and stay active this summer," said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. "We're pleased to be able to provide residents, and especially young people, with the chance to make some great summer memories as we continue to safely emerge from this pandemic."

The department posted on Twitter that they've been working "around the clock" to hire lifeguards.



Finding and training lifeguards to work at neighborhood pools has been a challenge for the city due to the pandemic.

"The City will open 47 outdoor pools this summer against the backdrop of a nationwide lifeguard shortage compounded by local hiring and recruitment challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pools were selected to open based on geography, past pool usage data, and neighborhood need," the department said in a press release.

Dozens of positions have already been filled, but there is still a need.



The Parks and Recreation Department helps candidates to obtain Red Cross lifeguard certification.

Courses were suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic, but now training has begun again.

The certification is free for applicants 16 to 24 years of age who commit to working at city pools. Otherwise, the certification is $110 for all other candidates.

City lifeguard positions start at $15/hr and go up to $16.97/hr.

The pools will off free swim lessons. The city says while they can't open all the pools, they are encouraging everyone to visit their more than 90 spraygrounds.

The pool opening schedule is subject to change and is as follows:

Wednesday, June 30


- J. Finnegan Playground
- Mander Playground
- Samuel Recreation Center
- Vogt Recreation Center

Thursday, July 1

- Bridesburg Recreation Center
- Francisville Playground
- Lackman Playground
- Simpson Recreation Center

Friday, July 2


- Barry Playground
- Cobbs Creek Recreation Center
- Kendrick Recreation Center
- Northern Liberties Recreation Center

Saturday, July 3

- American Legion Playground
- Cherashore Playground
- Fox Chase Recreation Center
- Murphy Recreation Center

Tuesday, July 6

- Anderson Recreation Center
- Hancock Playground
- Heitzman Recreation Center
- Kelly Pool
- Max Myers Playground

Wednesday, July 7

- Cione Playground
- Mitchell Playground
- Penrose Playground
-Vare Recreation Center
- Pleasant Playground

Thursday, July 8


- Houseman Recreation Center
- Jacobs Playground
- Kingsessing Recreation Center
- Sacks Playground
- Schmidt Playground

Friday, July 9

- Awbury Playground
- Christy Recreation Center
- Jardel Recreation Center
- M.L. King Recreation Center
- Stinger Square

Saturday, July 10

- Athletic Recreation Center
- C.B. Moore Recreation Center
- Feltonville Recreation Center
- Shepard Recreation Center
- Tustin Playground

The following pools are scheduled to open soon. Please check back for exact opening dates:

- 39th & Olive Playground
- Ford Recreation Center
- Lee Cultural Center
- Lonnie Young Recreation Center
- O'Connor Pool
- Scanlon Playground

Throughout this heat emergency, the elderly are extremely vulnerable to heat-related illness. Because of this, Manna is delivering a week's worth of meals to clients who may need an extra hand. They're also utilizing their delivery window as a chance to check in on clients, making sure they are doing well despite the conditions.

"You don't want to put any extra stress on people who may be compromised one way or another. I think it's a wonderful thing we're able to help out people like this," said Frank Cianciulli, who was delivering for Manna.

"Because I have a heart condition yes, it makes sense I don't go out," said meal recipient Sondra Cartwright.

Meanwhile, the city has provided a map of other locations to stay cool during the heat wave:

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