Lifeguard shortage keeps Tom Sawyer State Park’s pool closed

Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Overgrown and understaffed, the pool at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park has seen better days.

“It’s very sad, I live right behind that pool,” park goer Judy Prentice said. “I used to hear the diving board all the time, this year it’s been complete silence.”

Prentice said her backyard is adjacent to Louisville’s largest public outdoor pool and splash pad. The silence carried by summer air is deafening.

“I’m just shocked that they can’t get lifeguards and now kids are playing with their hoses,” Prentice said.

It’s possible the pool and splash pad will not be home for summer fun at all this year.

“Nothing is going in, probably for the rest of the summer, because we didn’t get enough lifeguards,” recreational aid Luke Goins said.

Goins added they very few lifeguards, but not enough to open the pool.

“Until we get three or four more lifeguards it can’t be open for the rest of the summer,” Goins said.

That’s a problem being felt around the country. According to NBC News, numerous states are also having an issue finding lifeguards for beaches, as well as local and state pools.

Back in May, we spoke with Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation also facing the same issue with city-run pools.

It’s a problem that park goers Sheri Dieterle and Sherri Gredy said is a reflection of where most of the country is right now.

“I think things need to start back and we need to get back to work,” Dieterle said.

“Hence now we have pool closures and restaurants not having enough servers,” Gredy added.

Park officials said the lifeguard shortage can be contributed to a lack of interest which was driven by the pandemic.

It’s important to note that Tom Sawyer State Park is still resuming other activities, only the pools opening is in question for this summer.

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