(St. Joseph,MO) The weather is heating up and the parks department is diving into maintenance at the local swimming pools.
Assistant Parks Director Jeff Atkins said crews have been working for over a month to get the Aquatic Park and Krug Park pool ready to open at the end of the month.
"We look at the play structures. We look at the lifeguard stands. We look at the overall condition of everything in the pool," Atkins said.
The parks department has made renovations to the children's play structure at the Aquatic Park. Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Kempf said the Krug Park pool is also getting an upgrade that include new play equipment for the main pool.
"We have an aquatic rock climbing wall that we are going to be installing. It's a small wall, but I think it will be fun, especially for the smaller kids and then we bought a rolling log," Kempf said.
The pools have been filled and he pumps are running, but staffing problems could still keep people out of the water.
"We are in our annual process for hiring lifeguards, which has become extremely challenging in the last few years," Kempf said.
Currently the city is training 30 lifeguards to work at the pools this summer, but Kempf said if employment drops, a lifeguard shortage could affect the operating hours at the Kurg pool and could temporarily shut down some of the features at the Aquatic Park.
"Last year because of the lower numbers we had to modify the hours a little bit," Kempf said."There are a few days when we're short staffed with lifeguards and we might have to close the slide down at the aquatic park if we don't have enough coverage."
Kempf said both pools will be fully staffed for the start of the season, but the city will be hiring more lifeguards throughout the summer. The parks department offers free lifeguard training for individuals wanting to work at the city pools. More information on available lifeguarding jobs can be found on the city website.
Weather pending, the Aquatic Center is scheduled to open for the season on Saturday, May 26 and the Krug Park Pool will open May 29.