CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found city of Cleveland pools often are not open all hours the city promised even during the hottest days of the season.
The I-Team has investigated city pools closed due to not enough lifeguards.
City hall recently announced outdoor pools would be closed Mondays and Tuesdays because of a lifeguard shortage. Now, we’ve discovered the pools closing more than that.
Councilman Mike Polensek told us, as of last week, the city had less than half of the lifeguards needed. Wednesday afternoon, the Mayor’s Office confirmed, even now, the city has less than half of the nearly 150 lifeguards needed.
The I-Team also spoke to a young woman who has worked for the city watching the swimmers. We agreed to protect her identity, and she spoke to us about the problem.
She said, “We’re very understaffed. Downtown is not getting the lifeguards out as it should be.”
She added, “If a guard doesn’t show up. We’re not allowed to open by ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s not our fault, we’re not open.”
The I-Team also did a spot check this week on indoor pools at Cleveland rec centers. We checked on seven. Two of them were closed for maintenance or mechanical issues. One closed because of no lifeguard.
At a news conference, we asked Mayor Frank Jackson about this. He did not have one, simple reason for the problem.
“It’s become much more difficult to bring on temporary people to perform seasonal kinds of jobs,” Jackson said.
Wednesday, at noon, we found gates locked at the city pool in Tremont.
A 15-year-old walked by asking when the pool would open, and someone drove by yelling, “open the pools!”
We ended up seeing one lifeguard open the gates while waiting for another lifeguard to be sent there.
In short, you may go to a city pool and find it closed when it should be open on hot summer days.
On the west side, we met a grandmother taking her grandson to the pool, and she said, “It makes my grandson happy.”
For two days, we asked the Mayor’s Office how it’s decided which pools open and which close when lifeguard staffing is especially short. We did not get an answer to that question.