TOWNSEND — The Townsend City Council voted to not open their swimming pool for the summer season.
The City of Townsend has spent months advertising for lifeguards for the swimming pool. They say staff shortages are the reason for the pool closure.
“We've been working on getting the pool staffed and we've received two applicants. One, we actually received after the deadline," says Coleen Ward, the Townsend City Clerk.
The city says they need at least four workers to manage the pool. They even raised the hourly wage to $10 an hour but believe applicants are hard to come by because of the same, tight labor market that is impacting other businesses looking for workers.
“I believe that there are a lot of jobs out there right now because communities are reopening since last year from COVID. So a lot of businesses are reopening and they're trying to hire," says Ward.
Even if Townsend finds applicants soon, the city says it would be too late as training and preparations would take up most of the summer.
“We've done our due diligence. We have tried. I don't know what more we could have done to get people in here,” says Ward. “I'm sad. I'm sad that these kids aren't going to be able to go swimming. My kids use the pool all through their years of growing up here. It's sad."
Now, the City of Townsend will look to 2022 and hope they can find more interest to get the pool up and running again.
The city advises families to be extra cautious when taking young ones to nearby lakes and rivers and to use a life jacket.