Safety concerns affect Algonquin pool and community

Children and families swim in the public pool in Algonquin park. | Photo courtesy Louisville Metro Government

All four outdoor public pools in Louisville, including the pool at Algonquin Park, have opened for the summer. Just a few weeks ago, city officials were worried that the Algonquin pool wouldn’t open because lifeguards didn’t want to be stationed there.

The city’s solution was to offer a free lifeguard training course to anyone who agreed to work at a metro public pool for the summer. Now, all public pools will be fully staffed — but concerns for safety at the Algonquin pool are not gone.

Parks and Recreation Public Information Supervisor Jon Reiter confirmed the initial comments from city officials that lifeguards turned down offers to work at Algonquin due to safety.

That is accurate. The process is that lifeguards get interviewed, they get assigned to a pool, and we’re upfront about where we’re assigning them,” Reiter said. “That’s why it was so important to find people in the neighborhood that were comfortable in the community.”

Reiter said that the city held the free lifeguard training at the Algonquin pool in order to attract the neighborhood’s residents to the job.

When city officials were initially concerned about safety, the Parks and Recreation department said they would consider having security at the Algonquin pool. Reiter says that the department is moving forward with this.

“There is security at the Algonquin pool while it’s open. LMPD is helping us out with that,” Reiter said. “They’re not at any other public pool besides Algonquin.”

The city is making efforts to increase safety at the Algonquin pool, largely due to concern expressed by the lifeguards that initially declined to work at Algonquin. But violence is less of a concern to one community member and leader in Algonquin. Nannette Dix is the administrator at Bridges of Hope, a Neighborhood Place that provides a variety of services to Algonquin families. She says that members of the community don’t feel unsafe.

“We send out a survey to the Algonquin residents, and we ask ‘Do you feel safe?’ Most people do feel safe where they live,” Dix said.

She also said that people outside of the community might make assumptions that aren’t true to reality.

“People outside looking in might say things that aren’t true to how people in the community feel,” Dix said. “Generally people in the community don’t feel unsafe.”

Dix chooses to approach violence and crime more holistically. She says that all issues — from violence to drug crimes to health — affect the entire Louisville community.

“All the different neighborhoods and communities in Louisville are connected. Yes, some neighborhoods are more concentrated with crimes. But, these issues always spread from a center, and it will affect all the areas.”

The parks department says that LMPD will continue providing security at the Algonquin pool, and that it has not had any issues thus far. According to the city, admission is $2 for children 17 and under, and $3 for adults 18 and over.