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Person swimming in a pool. Photo: Getty Images.
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Philly to open 61 pools barring unprecedented challenges

Aching for a backstroke? Philly’s got you covered as it begins to phase pool openings across neighborhoods.

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Despite nationwide workforce challenges and lifeguard shortages, Philadelphia will open 61 of its available pools gradually across neighborhoods, beginning with three facilities on June 14 —  West Philly, Hunting Park, and Kensington. It’s the first time in years that Philly opens all available facilities, including one recently memorialized after a Parks and Recreation employee, Tiffany Fletcher, who succumbed to her wounds after being shot on the job at Mill Creek Playground. 

Deputy Commissioner of Programs Bill Salvatore felt optimistic about the city’s ability to open pools right as the school year settled.

“I feel great about the pools,” said Salvatore. “It's been a while since through open all available pools. It's exciting that schools closed yesterday, and we will open over the course of today. It's the first time since I've been in a department we open pools within 24 hours of schools letting out so it's exciting.” 

The city expects to staff facilities during the Summer season, Salvatore said, while emphasizing that the rolling schedule accommodates ongoing certification processes, hiring, and onboarding. 

“As more staff come on, we continue to open up more pools,” Salvatore said. “That's why we can't open them all up in one week. So we feel really good at this point about the 61 available pools opening up even if some have to be on a hybrid schedule later on.”

City will monitor staffing

The city plans to staff spraygrounds with 700 workers, split into two groups. 350 employees will tackle maintenance while the remaining 350 will be lifeguards. If there aren’t enough workers on any given day, Salvatore said, the city will deploy a split schedule strategy, where staff members shift locations to maximize access with available resources. 

The schedule is Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekends, unless an unexpected event unfolds. In those instances, split schedules will attempt to maintain uniformity. 

Any changes will be communicated on the department’s social media channels and website, expected to track and convey changes, Salvatore said. 

“As the Summer progresses, there are things that are out of our control. So we have to split schedules. That's what we end up doing, as we did last year. And then signage and all that will be available at pools if any unexpected changes,” Salvatore said. 

But “it’s a last resort,” he said. “I feel like we’re going to be in pretty good shape.” 

Lifeguards needed

The shortage of available lifeguards isn’t a phenomenon unique to Philly or to 2023. For years cities have struggled to train and certify willing participants. Last year, Philly could only afford to open a fraction of its pools due to the shortage, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The lifeguard shortage is a national challenge that has been impacting Parks and Rec facilities across the country for more than a decade,” said Maita Soukup, a spokesperson for the City’s Department of Parks and Rec. 

“It really wasn't brought to the public attention until the pandemic because during 2020 most pools weren't able to open across the country, which sort of put the whole lifeguard certification and hiring process…on pause like everything else in the pandemic.”

The city offered an end-of-summer bonus in the amount of $1,000 to incentivize recruitment, plus a bonus for certified lifeguards who fulfilled their summer appointments in full. 

Last February, Philly Parks and Rec. hosted a cold pool plunge to fund that effort “to buck the trend nationally and open all of our pools this year or be on track to open up the pools.”

“​​We've been out in the community, we've been at recruitment events at colleges and universities and high schools. We've talked to City Council and other elected officials and community organizations. We've really put the full-court press on to make sure we're able to pull the summer,” added Salvatore. 

Following those efforts, see below the list of pools open for the summer. Remember to check in on available channels for scheduling changes:

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

  • Fletcher (Mill Creek) Pool — 743 N. 48th St., 19139
  • Hunting Park Pool — 900 Hunting Park Ave., 19140
  • Samuel Pool — 3539 Gaul St., 19134

Thursday, June 15, 2023

  • Marian Anderson Pool — 740 S. 17th St., 19146

Friday, June 16, 2023

  • Jacobs Pool — 4500 Linden Ave., 19114
  • Kelly Pool — 4231 Lansdowne Dr., 19131

Saturday, June 17, 2023

  • Feltonville Pool — 4726-4700 Ella St, Philadelphia, PA, 19120   
  • Ford Pool — 609 Snyder Ave., 19148   
  • Morris Estate Pool — 1610 W. Chelten Ave., 19126   

Sunday, June 18, 2023

  • Houseman Pool — 5091 Summerdale Ave., 19124   
  • Lackman Pool — 1101 Bartlett St., 19115 

Monday, June 19, 2023

  • Lawncrest Pool — 6000 Rising Sun Ave., 19111   
  • Pleasant Pool — 6720 Boyer St., 19119 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

  • Bridesburg Pool — 4625 Richmond St., 19137   
  • Mander Pool — 2140 N. 33rd St., 19121   
  • Mitchell Pool — 3700 Whitehall Ln., 19114   

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

  • Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Pool — 280 Cobbs Creek Pkwy., 19139   
  • Northern Liberties Pool — 321 Fairmount Ave., 19123
  • Scanlon Pool — 1099 E. Tioga St., 19134   

Thusday, June 22, 2023

  • American Legion Pool — 6201 Torresdale Ave., 19135   

Friday, June 23, 2023

  • Jardel Pool — 1400 Cottman Ave., 19111   
  • Kendrick Pool — 5822 Ridge Ave., 19128   

Saturday, June 24, 2023

  • Francisville Pool — 1737 Francis St., 19130   
  • Christy Pool — 728 S. 55th St., 19143   

Sunday, June 25, 2023

  • O’Connor Pool — 2601 South St., 19146
  • Piccoli Pool — 1501 E. Bristol Ave., 19124
  • Sacks Pool — 400 Washington Ave., 19147

Monday, June 26, 2023

  • Athletic Pool — 1401 N. 26th St., 19121
  • Lederer (Fishtown) Pool — 1219-25 E Montgomery Ave., 19125
  • Waterloo Pool — 2502 N. Howard St., 19133

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

  • C.B. Moore Pool — 2551 N. 22nd St., 19132
  • Ridgway Pool — 1301 Carpenter St., Philadelphia, PA, 19147
  • Vogt Pool — 4131 Unruh Ave., 19135

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

  • Chew Pool — 1800 Washington Ave., 19146
  • East Poplar Pool — 820 N. 8th St., 19123
  • Shepard Pool — 5700 Haverford Ave., 19131

Thursday, June 29, 2023

  • Finnegan Pool — 6801 Grovers Ave., 19142
  • Lonnie Young Pool — 1100 E. Chelten Ave., 19138

Friday, June 30, 2023

  • Cione Pool — 2600 E. Aramingo Ave., 19125
  • Simpson Pool — 1010 Arrott St., 19124

Saturday, July 1, 2023

  • Awbury Pool — 6101 Ardleigh St., 19138
  • F.J. Myers Pool — 5800 Chester Ave., 19143
  • Hancock Pool — 147 Master St., 19122

Monday, July 2, 2023

  • Barry Pool — 1800 Johnston St., 19145
  • Cherashore Pool — 851-951 W. Olney Ave., 19120

Monday, July 3, 2023

  • Fox Chase Pool — 7901 Ridgeway St., 19111
  • Lee Pool — 4328 Haverford Ave., 19104
  • Lincoln Pool — 3201 Ryan Ave., 19136

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

  • Butch Ellis Pool (39th & Olive) — 700 N. 39th St., 19104
  • M.L. King, Jr. Pool — 2101 Cecil B. Moore Ave., 19121
  • Murphy Pool — 300 W. Shunk St., 19148

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

  • Heitzman Pool — 2136 Castor Ave., 19134

Pools expected to open after July 5, 2023

  • Amos Pool — 1817 N. 16th St., 19121   
  • Baker Pool — 5433 Lansdowne Ave., 19131   
  • Belfield Pool — 2109 W. Chew Ave., 19138   
  • Cruz Playground — 1431 6th St., 19122   
  • Dendy Pool — 1501-39 N. 10th St., 19122   
  • Gathers Pool — 2501 Diamond St., 19121   
  • Shuler Pool — 3000 N. 27th St., 19132   
  • Stinger Square — 1400 S. 32nd St., 19146   
  • Tustin Pool — 5901 W. Columbia Ave., 19151 
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