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Kansas City metro pools adapt for lifeguard shortage

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Parkwood Pool KCK
Unified Government Parks & Recreation Department
Some Kansas City metro pools remain closed due to repairs and lifeguard shortages, but Parkwood Pool (above) in Kansas City, Kansas will reopen for the first time in two years.

On both sides of the state line lifeguards are in short supply despite efforts to attract qualified applicants.

Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri pools need approximately 350 lifeguards to run a fully operational swim season, but so far the Parks and Recreation Department has only about 200 qualified for this season.

Five pools —Brush Creek, Line Creek, Gorman, Bud Park and Grove Park— will be open for swimming this season, along with two water parks, according to Brad Clay, the deputy director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation. However, the season opening is delayed until June 11, Clay said.

Kansas City, Kansas
Parkwood Swimming Pool, Kansas City, Kansas' only public pool will be open for the first time in two years. Swimmers can come to the free opening event on Saturday, May 28.

Despite rigorous recruitment efforts and the highest pay in the metro the Kansas City, Kansas, Parks and Recreation Department only hired one qualified lifeguard, according to Angel Obert, director of Kansas City, Kansas Parks and Recreation.

Both sides of the state line contracted Midwest Pools Management to help secure the necessary lifeguards to meet the needs of the city pools.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz