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For the first time since summer 2019, Philadelphia is opening its public pools. The rolling schedule of openings begins this week, but will only extend to just 69% or so of the available swim spots because of major challenges recruiting lifeguards.
The lifeguard shortage isn’t just a Philly issue — it’s a national problem, brought on by COVID. And without proper guard staffing, officials can’t allow people to swim.
“We are seeing pools, recreation facilities, and beaches across the country reduce hours or close locations due to the lack of certified lifeguards to work this summer following more than a year out of the water due to the global pandemic,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.
Only some of the 70+ Philly pools will welcome residents this year, with the first few launching on Wednesday, and 16 expected by the end of this weekend. A total of 41 will be open by July 10. (See the full schedule and map below.)
How did Parks & Rec choose which ones get to open? A combination of neighborhood need, geography, and past pool usage data, officials said.
Lifeguard recruitment typically begins in the fall, as the city actively recruits college students returning home for holiday break and teenagers on high school swim teams.
Due to the pandemic, however, recruitment for this season couldn’t start until mid-March. Even then, Parks & Rec couldn’t use the school district’s indoor pools to do testing and training. Instead, department engineers were able to rig a water heating system and set up heat lamps around the outdoor pool at Samuel Recreation Center in Port Richmond
As officials scrambled to certify the requisite ~400 lifeguards necessary to open all the public pools this summer, the city raised the starting pay to $15.25/hour, offered to pay the Red Cross certification fees for interested applicants, and held numerous online job fairs.
The process to train, certify, and hire a candidate takes at least 4 to 6 weeks. Training will continue over the summer months to rebuild a full pool staff for next year, Parks & Rec officials said.
Check out the pool opening schedule below (it is subject to change).
Philly public pools open summer 2021
Opening Wednesday, June 30
|J. Finnegan Playground||6801 Grovers Ave., 19142|
|Mander Playground||2140 N. 33rd St., 19121|
|Samuel Recreation Center||3539 Gaul St., 19134|
|Vogt Recreation Center||4131 Unruh Ave., 19135|
Opening Thursday, July 1
|Bridesburg Recreation Center||4625 Richmond St., 19137|
|Francisville Playground||1737 Francis St., 19130|
|Lackman Playground||1101 Bartlett St., 19115|
|Simpson Recreation Center||1010 Arrott St., 19124|
Opening Friday, July 2
|Barry Playground||1800 Johnston St., 19145|
|Cobbs Creek Recreation Center||280 Cobbs Creek Pkwy., 19139|
|Kendrick Recreation Center||5822 Ridge Ave., 19128|
|Northern Liberties Recreation Center||321 Fairmount Ave., 19123|
Opening Saturday, July 3
|American Legion Playground||6201 Torresdale Ave., 19135|
|Cherashore Playground||851 W. Olney Ave., 19120|
|Fox Chase Recreation Center||7901 Ridgeway St., 19111|
|Murphy Recreation Center||300 W. Shunk St., 19148|
Opening Tuesday, July 6
|Anderson Recreation Center||740 S. 17th St., 19146|
|Hancock Playground||1401 N. Hancock St., 19122|
|Heitzman Recreation Center||2136 Castor Ave., 19134|
|Kelly Pool||4231 Landsdowne Dr., 19131|
|Max Myers Playground||1601 Hellerman St., 19149|
Opening Wednesday, July 7
|Cione Playground||2600 E. Aramingo Ave., 19125|
|Mitchell Playground||3700 Whitehall Ln., 19114|
|Pleasant Playground||6757 Chew Ave., 19119|
|Penrose Playground||1101 W. Susquehanna Rd., 19122|
|Vare Recreation Center||2600 Morris St., 19145|
Opening Thursday, July 8
|Houseman Recreation Center||5091 Summerdale Ave., 19124|
|Jacobs Playground||4500 Linden Ave., 19114|
|Kingsessing Recreation Center||4901 Kingsessing Ave., 19143|
|Sacks Playground||400 Washington Ave., 19147|
|Schmidt Playground||113 W. Ontario St., 19140|
Opening Friday, July 9
|Awbury Playground||6101 Ardleigh St., 19138|
|Christy Recreation Center||728 S. 55th St., 19143|
|Jardel Recreation Center||1400 Cottman Ave., 19111|
|M.L. King Recreation Center||2101 Cecil B. Moore Ave., 19121|
|Stinger Square||1400 S. 32nd St., 19146|
Opening Saturday, July 10
|Athletic Recreation Center||1400 N. 26th St., 19121|
|C.B. Moore Recreation Center||2551 N. 22nd St., 19132|
|Feltonville Recreation Center||4726-4700 Ella St, 19120|
|Shepard Recreation Center||5700 Haverford Ave., 19131|
|Tustin Playground||5901 W. Columbia Ave., 19151|
Opening date unknown
|39th & Olive Playground||700 N. 39th St., 19104|
|Scanlon Playground||1099 E. Tioga St., 19134|
|Ford Recreation Center||609 Snyder Ave., 19148|
|Lee Cultural Center||4328 Haverford Ave., 19104|
|Lonnie Young Recreation Center||1100 E. Chelten Ave., 19138|
|O’Connor Pool||2601 South St., 19146|
Not opening this summer
- South Philly – Otis T. Ford Recreation Center, Ridgway Park Pool, Chew Playground
- Northeast Philly – East Poplar Playground, Narcissa S. Cruz Recreation Center, Dendy Recreation Center, Waterloo Playground, 12th & Cambria Playground, Cohocksink Recreation Center, McVeigh Recreation Center, Hunting Park Recreation Center, Piccoli Playground, Ziehler Playground, Lawncrest Recreation Center
- Northwest Philly – Amos Playground, Gathers Recreation Center, Shuler Playground, Belfield Recreation Center, Morris Estate Cultural Center, Hillside Recreation Center
- West Philly – Norman (Butch) Ellis Playground, Mill Creek Playground, Baker Playground, F.J. Myers Recreation Center