As summer in the city begins to heat up, residents often look to the Chicago Park District's 22 beaches, 49 outdoor pools and 28 indoor pools to cool off at. However, a nationwide lifeguard shortage has led to swimming bans at the beaches, and pools pushing back their opening dates.
Now, the Chicago Park District says it has only been able to secure 55% of the lifeguards it needed to safely operate all those facilities. And as a result, only some pools across the city will open -- and -- access to some beaches will have to close.
“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.
“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 General Superintendent Rosa 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."
According to the Park District, the current hourly wage for lifeguards in the City of Chicago is $15.88 per hour.
Despite offering a $600 retention bonus for all new and returning seasonal hires -- and a $500 bonus to Park employees who refer a qualified candidate -- the District was unable to hire their targeted amount in order to fully and safely staff the city's beaches and pools.
"We understand the frustration of Chicago residents and are committed to continue summer hiring to further increase community pool access.”
That Park District says "most pools will be open to the public five days a week from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.," but days of operation and hours will ultimately be determined by staff capacity.
Here's a breakdown of what's opening and when, and what will remain closed for now.
Indoor Pools Opening July 5
- Austin Town Hall Park: 5610 W. Lake St., Austin
- Blackhawk Park: 2318 N. Lavergne Ave., Belmont Cragin
- Carver Park: 939 E. 132nd St., Riverdale
- Eckhart Park: 1330 W. Chicago Ave., West Town
- Ellis Park: 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Douglas
- Fernwood Park: 10436 S. Wallace Ave., Roseland
- Fosco Park: 1312 S. Racine Ave., Near West
- Foster Park: 1440 W. 84th St., Auburn Gresham
- Homan Square Park: 3559 W. Arthington, North Lawndale
- Lafollette Park: 1333 N. Laramie Ave., Austin
- Mann Park: 3035 E. 130th St., Hegewisch
- McGuane Park: 2901 S. Poplar Ave., Bridgeport
- Nash Community Center Park: 1833 E. 71st St., South Shore
- Piotrowski Park: 4247 W. 31st St., South Lawndale
- Shabbona Park: 6935 W. Addison Ave., Dunning
Outdoor Pools Opening July 5
- Avalon Park: 1215 E. 83rd St., Avalon
- Avondale Park: 3516 W. School St., Avondale
- California Park: 3843 N. California Ave., Irving Park
- Chase Park: 4701 n. Ashland Ave., Uptown
- Davis Square: 4430 S. Marshfield Ave., New City
- Douglass: 1401 S. Sacramento Ave., North Lawndale
- Gompers Park: 4222 W. Foster Ave, North Park
- Hale Park: 6258 W. 62nd St., Clearing
- Hamilton Park: 513 W. 72nd St., Englewood
- Hayes Park: 2936 W. 85th St., Ashburn
- Holstein Park: 2200 N. Oakley Ave., Logan Square
- Humboldt Park: 1400 N. Humboldt Blvd., Humboldt Park
- Kennedy Park: 11320 S. Western Ave., Morgan Park
- Lindblom Park: 6054 S. Damen Ave., West Englewood
- McKinley Park: 2210 W. Pershing Rd., McKinley Park
- Norwood Park: 5801 N. Natoma Ave., Norwood Park
- Ogden Park: 6500 S. Racine Ave., West Englewood
- Portage Park: 4100 N. Long Ave., Portage Park
- Pulaski Park: 1419 W. Blackhawk St., West Town
- River Park: 5100 N. Francisco Ave., Albany Park
- Taylor Park: 39 W. 47th St., Grand Boulevard
- Trumbull Park: 2400 E. 105th St., South Deering
Beaches with Limited Access
According to the Park District, "small, underutilized portions" of the below beaches will be limited, to "divert lifeguards to neighborhood pools:
- North Avenue Beach (northern section of the beach)
- Calumet Beach (north of the Coast Guard station)
In addition, swimming at this beach will be prohibited:
- 12th Street Beach
According to the Park District, these closures "will allow 23 to 25 guards to be assigned to pools in areas further from the lakefront."