District Announces the Opening of 37 Pools Across the City giving residents safe swim amenities within two miles of their home
District will limit access to four small beach areas to balance staffing at beaches and pools
Prioritizing safety and equity, the Chicago Park District announced its plan to open 37 pools across the city based on a number of factors including securing only 55% of the targeted number of qualified seasonal lifeguards who have successfully completed the hiring process. The District will also limit access to four smaller, beach areas to re-deploy lifeguards to support operations at neighborhood pools. The plan reflects the District’s commitment to ensure Chicago residents have as many a safe option for swimming within two miles of their home this summer.
“Despite the many challenges we’ve faced hiring lifeguards, including the national shortage, we have not given up and remain committed to a pool opening plan rooted in safety first,” said General Superintendent Rosa Escareño. “Neighborhood pools are incredibly valuable resources for our residents and families, providing recreation and relief from the summer heat. 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.”
Guided by its commitment to safety and equity, the Chicago Park District will open 37 neighborhood pools across the city, including 15 indoor and 22 outdoor pools based on the number of qualified lifeguards hired by July 5th. The District selected a combination of indoor and outdoor pools based on several factors including, but not limited to, geographical location, staffing requirements and availability, the condition of the pool, historical usage, pool capacity, access to public transportation and safety considerations.
The District will open four larger pools at Portage Park, Humboldt Park, McKinley Park and Norwood Park to accommodate more visitors. The remaining pool locations will be small to mid-size pools to ensure equitable access across the city.
The District will limit access to small, underutilized portions of North Avenue Beach and Calumet Beach to divert lifeguards to neighborhood pools. In addition, due to ongoing construction, swimming at 12th Street Beach will be prohibited detailing the additional staff to be assigned to pools in communities citywide. Reducing the footprint of North Avenue Beach, at the northern section of the beach, just south of Fullerton Avenue and the small beach at Calumet Park, just north of the Coast Guard station, will lessen the number of lifeguards needed on the lakefront. This measure will allow 23 to 25 guards to be assigned to pools in areas further from the lakefront.
Most pools will be open to the public five (5) days a week from 11am to 7pm. Days of operation will be determined by park hours and staff capacity. Patrons should visit the District’s website or contact the park for pool hours. A total of 21 beaches will remain available for swimming daily through Labor Day from 11am to 7pm.
Over 200 spray features across the city have already been activated and are available for public use. Some larger water playgrounds may remain closed if they require a lifeguard to activate, and some water features may be closed if they are under construction for upgrades.
“The Park District is not alone in this post pandemic worker shortage, the national lifeguard shortage and the Great Resignation have impacted our ability to hire employees,” said Escareño. “Even with the unprecedented incentives we’re offering, the competitive job market made it difficult for us to go against local businesses paying youth summer job wages ranging between $18-$20 an hour. We understand the frustration of Chicago residents and are committed to continue summer hiring to further increase community pool access.”
The Chicago Park District continues to actively recruit residents ages 16 and older, to fill seasonal lifeguard positions. These positions are vital to fully staffing and keeping the city’s beaches and park pools safe. The current hourly wage for lifeguards is $15.88/hour without the $600 bonus. Seasonal Lifeguards must be 16 years of age, fully vaccinated, pass specific skill tests, and be properly certified. For more information on summer job opportunities in the parks, including Seasonal Lifeguard, check out the District’s Seasonal Jobs Flyer.
The Park District’s $600 retention bonus for all new hires and returning seasonal and year-round lifeguards would raise the average current wage to an equivalent of $17.08/hour. The District also temporarily relax the residency requirement for non-city residents who apply for seasonal lifeguard positions this summer. Additionally, seasonal lifeguards will have the opportunity to gain permanent employment to build a pipeline for the District’s year-round workforce. Retaining skilled and dedicated guards is vital to the District’s commitment to providing continuous services throughout the city’s 77 neighborhoods.
To incentivize Park District employees to tap into their networks, including thousands of park patrons, and help recruit qualified lifeguards, the District is offering a $500 bonus to Park employees that makes a successful lifeguard referral.
The following Chicago Park District pools will open July 5th: This list is also available on the District’s website.
- Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake St. in the Austin community
- Avalon Park, 1215 E. 83rd St. in the Avalon community
- Avondale Park, 3516 W. School St. in the Avondale community
- Blackhawk Park, 2318 N. Lavergne Ave. in the Belmont Cragin community
- California Park, 3843 N. California Ave. in the Irving Park community
- Carver Park, 939 E. 132nd St. in the Riverdale community
- Chase Park, 4701 n. Ashland Ave. in the Uptown community
- Davis Square, 4430 S. Marshfield Ave. in the New City community
- Douglass, 1401 S. Sacramento Ave. in the North Lawndale community
- Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave. in the West Town community
- Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in the Douglas community
- Fernwood Park, 10436 S. Wallace Ave. in the Roseland community
- Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave. in the Near West community
- Foster Park, 1440 W. 84th St. in the Auburn Gresham community
- Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave in the North Park community
- Hale Park, 6258 W. 62nd St. in the Clearing community
- Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd St. in the Englewood community
- Hayes Park, 2936 W. 85th St. in the Ashburn community
- Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley Ave. in the Logan Square community
- Homan Square Park, 3559 W. Arthington in the North Lawndale community
- Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Humboldt Blvd. in the Humboldt Park community
- Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western Ave. in the Morgan Park community
- Lafollette Park, 1333 N. Laramie Ave. in the Austin community
- Lindblom Park, 6054 S. Damen Ave. in the West Englewood community
- Mann Park, 3035 E. 130th St. in the Hegewisch community
- McGuane Park, 2901 S. Poplar Ave. in the Bridgeport community
- McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd. in the McKinley Park community
- Nash Community Center Park, 1833 E. 71st St. in the South Shore community
- Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave. in the Norwood Park community
- Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Ave. in the West Englewood community
- Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St. in the South Lawndale community
- Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave. in the Portage Park community
- Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk St. in the West Town community
- River Park, 5100 N. Francisco Ave. in the Albany Park community
- Shabbona Park, 6935 W. Addison Ave. in the Dunning community
- Taylor Park, 39 W. 47th St.in the Grand Boulevard community
- Trumbull Park, 2400 E. 105th St. in the South Deering community