Just last week, city workers and West End residents were preparing for the possibility that the Algonquin pool would not open due to a lack of lifeguards. But after a week of free lifeguard training, the Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation office says that Algonquin will likely be fully staffed through the summer.
In response to the lack of lifeguards, the city offered a free training course this week to any person who pledged to work at a Metro Parks and Recreation pool for the summer. The certification course is usually $200 at the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center, but Tuesday through Friday, the city offered free training at the Algonquin pool.
Jon Reiter, parks and recreation public information supervisor, told Insider Louisville that turnout for the course was high.
“Thus far, we are going to keep the Algonquin pool open. It looks like it’ll be open all summer,” Reiter said. “The aquatics director and supervisor tell us that the classes are going really well. They had about 20 people sign up for the class.”
Last week, city officials said that lifeguards were too scared of violence in the area to work at Algonquin. This is the main concern that led to the free training course, and this concern still raises issues for the neighborhood.
According to police records, there have been 352 violent crimes reported within one mile of the Algonquin public pool. Additionally, crime throughout Louisville is on the same trajectory as it was at this point last year.
Eight to 10 lifeguards will be stationed at Algonquin, and the rest will work at other city pools. Reiter said that a need for lifeguards is affecting all city pools.
“Last year, the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park pool had to close down because they couldn’t find lifeguards to work there,” Reiter said. “We had a hard time filling all of our lifeguard positions including at Algonquin last year. I don’t think the safety thing was the only issue at Algonquin.”
The Algonquin pool was open throughout Memorial Day Weekend, and Reiter said that there was a good crowd.
“We had several hundred people there, and everything was safe,” Reiter said. “I think that is hopefully going to be more representative of what people are seeing in the neighborhood than what has happened in the past.”