The Department of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs is seeking additional lifeguards to be able to open more pools this summer
Syracuse, N.Y. –The City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs announced it will open five outdoor pools starting with Thornden Park Pool on June 18. Onondaga Park and Schiller Park pools are set to open June 19. Kirk Park Pool will follow on June 25. The targeted opening date for Burnet Park Pool is the beginning of July.
The pools will operate Monday–Saturday, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sundays, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. However, between Monday, June 20 and Friday, June 24 Onondaga, Schiller and Thornden pools will operate from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the week as the Syracuse City School District school year comes to a close.
Lap swim will be available at Thornden Park Pool, beginning Monday, June 27. Hours will be Monday–Friday, 6:30–9:30 a.m. Lap swim admission is $3 for adults ages 16–64 and free for 65 and older. Onsite payments will be cash only. Ticket booklets can be purchased at the Parks’ main office, located at 412 Spencer Street, Syracuse 13204. Booklet fees are $55 for 20 tickets or $125 for 50 tickets.
Advance registration, first introduced in 2020, will not be required this season. The pools will operate on a first come, first serve system when pool capacities are reached.
A lifeguard shortage impacting municipalities in New York State and other parts of the nation is also impacting the City of Syracuse. As a result, the outdoor pools at Lincoln, McKinley and Wilson parks, as well as the indoor pools at Valley and the Southwest Community Center will remain closed. Swimming lessons, water exercise classes and swim teams are canceled for the summer season.
The City continues to seek lifeguards and will open additional pools if more lifeguards can be hired. Certified applicants can sign up for lifeguard screening on June 8 at 5:00 p.m. at Valley Pool by registering at bit.ly/LifeguardScreening.
Although the pool staffing shortage is not a problem unique to Syracuse, Parks staff have been proactively taking steps to try to attract more people to work at the pools, which includes raising the hourly wages for pool staff. The staff also began recruiting efforts starting late Fall 2021, and made a bigger effort to reach out to local partners, like schools and swim teams to fill positions. For the first time ever, Parks held four job fairs in March and May to allow potential candidates the opportunity to ask questions, get informed and take part in on-the-spot interviews.
Additionally, the City of Syracuse School District is offering a lifeguarding class at Nottingham High School, June 13–17, from 4:00–8:00 p.m. The cost is $41. Participants must be 15 years of age by the last class and pass a pre-test. Candidates can sign up for the class by completing the form at bit.ly/3wXXgJ8.
Also happening this season is the reopening of Burnet Park Pool, following a two-year closure for renovations. The project, totaling $1.3 million, is nearing completion and includes the rebuilding of the pool foundation and deteriorating walls. The pool is on track for opening in the beginning of July.
Burnet and Thornden pools will also be switched to a saltwater system from the traditional chlorinated water, courtesy of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The conversion is in an effort to eliminate the risk of handling, transporting, and storing large amounts of chlorine. Saltwater pools have also been shown to be gentler on the skin, eyes, and hair. During the course of this year, the indoor pools at Valley and Southwest Community Center will also be converted to saltwater pools. If funding allows, a fifth pool will also be converted.
Children under the minimum height requirement must be with a parent or responsible adult over 18 years old. A maximum of three children per adult are allowed. The accompanying adult must be in the water within an arms-reach of children at all times, even when a child is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device. A deep water swim test must be taken and passed upon each entry. To view the full list of pool rules and acceptable swimwear visit http://www.syrgov.net/Parks/poolrules.html