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Buffalo’s outdoor pools to stay closed due to lifeguard shortage



BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The City of Buffalo’s nine outdoor swimming pools won’t be opening this summer. The city says a lifeguard shortage is the cause.

(Mayor Byron Brown will speak on this at 11 a.m. Watch the conference in the video player above.)

“The decision to not open our outdoor pools this summer came down to the safety and welfare of our residents,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “We realize this decision will disappoint the hundreds of youngsters and adults who enjoy spending summer hours at our outdoor swimming pools, but the bottom-line is we don’t have the number of lifeguards required to keep our residents safe.”

In turn, Buffalo’s two indoor pools (Cazenovia Park and Lovejoy Park) will be open with extended hours on weekends and weekdays. There won’t be fees to use them either. This will last from July 1 through Labor Day.

Cazenovia Pool (626 Abbott Rd.)

  • Monday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday – CLOSED
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 a.m. to 7p.m.
  • Saturday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lovejoy Pool (1171 E. Lovejoy St.)

  • Monday – CLOSED
  • Tuesday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

10 of the 11 splash pads in Buffalo are open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The only one that’s closed is at Allison Park, due to pump repairs.

Buffalo’s Deputy Commissioner of Parks & Recreation, Andrew Rabb, says “Despite all our efforts, we were only able to hire 22 additional lifeguards. In 2019, the last summer city outdoor pools were open due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a lifeguard staff of 80.”

Buffalo’s not alone in the need for lifeguards. Niagara Falls and West Seneca are keeping their pools closed, too. In Rochester and Syracuse, at least half of the municipal pools and beaches will be closed, as well.

“Over the past nearly six months, we’ve worked in partnership with the Police Athletic League of Buffalo in an unprecedented effort to hire certified lifeguards, including raising pay and running our own lifeguard training classes, but were still unable to hire the staff required to safely open our outdoor pools,” Rabb said.

Free lifeguard training will be offered by the city this summer.

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.





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