AMHERST N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s the perfect week for a dip in a splash pad, public pool or even the beach. After a shortage of lifeguards, not all outdoor pools are open this season. News 4 stopped by a few places around WNY you can cool off.
The Town of Amherst is getting its pools and splash pads ready for the season. At the Clearfield Community Center, families can expect to soak in all that fun starting on Tuesday.
“As you can see we’re getting the place ready. Looking forward to welcoming folks back,” said Mary-Diana Pouli, who’s the Town of Amherst Youth and Recreational Dept. executive director. “We’re not having COVID restrictions this year, although we are going to be very COVID aware. So you will see increased cleaning. We’re asking folks to please bring their own lawn chairs we won’t be providing those because we want to be mindful that COVID is still with us.”
Pouli says guests won’t have to register ahead of time like they had to last year. She’s also hoping after a year spent heavily recruiting lifeguards, the pool on Hopkins road will be open during most of the summer.
“Well it’s been tough I won’t lie to you about that. We’ve been very lucky,” she said. “We have the support of the town board and they’ve been able to make some changes that have allowed us to hire some additional staff. It’s not to say there won’t be some days during the summer where things might be a little rocky but at this point, we’re very happy with a mix of old and new staff.”
State beaches around Western New York, like Woodlawn Beach, Beaver Island, Fort Niagara, and Evangola State Parks, are also hoping to avoid the national lifeguard shortage. Officials say each of the area’s four state beaches will be fully staffed starting on June 25th.
“It’s really important to have the right amount of coverage because you want to be able to open as much of the beach as possible so people can do whatever they want to do when they come to the beach but also public safety,” said Andrew Chouinard, who’s the regional health and safety manager for the Niagara State Parks Region.
In Buffalo, city officials plan on announcing which of its seven outdoor pools will be open this summer. The city’s splash pads opened memorial day weekend.
In Niagara Falls, a city spokesperson tells News 4 “It was a struggle to get lifeguard applicants this year.
But, Niagara Falls is able to open two neighborhood pools this year — the 91st Street Pool and the Center Court Pool. An exact schedule for each pool has not been determined yet. We are working that out based on the number of lifeguards we have hired. We hope to announce a schedule soon.”
Officials added, “Our Hyde Park Pool will undergo extensive renovations and upgrades this summer. We hope to be able to open it next year — if there are enough lifeguards to do so.”