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Despite pandemic, Lions Club pool numbers were good

In 2020, the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District didn’t open the Lions Club pool for the summer season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pool did reopen in summer 2021, the turnout was good.

At the Jan. 4 park board meeting, commissioners heard from Amanda Gaus, recreation supervisor, who said although the pool, at 1041 Ridge Road in Homewood, was open for only 63 days, it was “another successful and safe summer.” The pool was open June 5 through Aug. 22. It was forced to close seven days due to weather conditions and had 14 days of restricted hours due to weather conditions.

Gaus reported “a total of 1,395 memberships were sold for the 2021 season, which was right in line with the 2019 season.” She reported revenue of $71,635 for 2021, and that the busiest attendance hours were between 2 and 4 p.m.

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The park board changed its pay structure to $50 individual resident passes for the season from its previous varied pricing based on family enrollment. Swimmers could also pay $10 for day-of attendance.

The park board did offer a 10% discount to anyone who took swim lessons or aerobics classes. The staff offered swim lessons to 338 swimmers, but was forced to reduce the number of classes due to staffing shortages.

“Due to Illinois Department of Public Health mitigations and staffing demands, pool parties and private rentals were eliminated,” Gaus said.

One suggestion Gaus presented for the 2022 season is staffing changes.

“Staffing was a significant challenge during the 2021 pool season. Pool hours were shortened due to a lifeguard shortage. Additionally, with minimum wage rising and with competition from all industries with employee shortages, staying competitive with an increase hourly rate for a lifeguard is needed,” Gaus wrote. “With many part-time employees of the park district moving to a $14 per hour wage, a recommendation of $15.50 per hour for lifeguards during the 2022 pool season would help to secure staff who are required to have a certification to work as a guard.”

Another suggestion in Gaus’ report was keeping pool hours consistent with 2021 “while reintroducing the use of the water slide, daytime pool rentals during open swim and adding additional swim lessons during weekday morning, evening and weekends.”

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