PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket pool is closed until further notice since the city is still searching for lifeguards to staff it.
According to Superintendent of Parks John Blais, the city has struggled to hire a lifeguard for the Veterans Memorial Park Pool – located on Smithfield Avenue – this summer.
Blais believes the problem stems from the cost of becoming a Red Cross (Non-Surf) Certified lifeguard.
The city is now offering an incentive, saying they will reimburse the cost of becoming certified by 50% or up to $175.
“The pool provides a great commodity for the public and especially our children,” Mayor Donald Grebien said in a statement. “Not all of our residents have the ability to visit a beach or pool during the hot summer months. We need a lifeguard on duty in order to operate.”
Blais explains not having the pool open has caused a ripple effect. The pool runs a free lunch program generally serves meals until Aug. 12 on weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. Blais said because the pool has not been open, the lunch program hasn’t either.
Blais said he has already hired eight summer employees for the facility, but because the pool hasn’t opened yet, their jobs are in jeopardy.
“I have 16-year-old teenagers and older who have applied for this position,” he said. “Now their future is uncertain, whether they are going to have a summer job.”
The city provided a list of requirements for anyone looking to apply as a lifeguard for the summer:
- Must be 16 years of age or older
- Must have an updated American Red Cross Certification for Lifesaving (non-surf)
- Must have an updated American Red Cross Certification for First Aid/CPR/AED
- Must be friendly and able to work with the public, especially children
- Must enjoy being in the sun, getting wet while creating a fun, yet safe, environment
Anyone interested in applying should contact John Blais at 401-728-0500 Ext. 257 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.