Bangor’s summer pool season is starting this week with one of the city’s two public pools closed because of a staffing shortage.
Bangor’s Dakin Pool will be closed until the city can recruit more staff, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Harbor Advisory Committee decided last week. Bangor’s other municipal pool, at the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Center, will be open.
The city has also called off its usual summer swim lesson program because of the staff shortage.
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The Bangor city council is set to discuss that decision during a workshop meeting Monday at 5:15 p.m.
The city isn’t able to safely operate both pools simultaneously without enough lifeguards to monitor them, Bangor Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette said in a memo to city councilors.
Earlier this month, Willette said he had about 15 lifeguards to work at the city’s two pools this summer, but needs 25 to 30 to be considered fully staffed. Other pools in Maine are also struggling to recruit lifeguards.
At the city’s Dakin Pool, three guards usually monitor the pool and one oversees the pool house.
Six guards monitor the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Center’s pool with an additional lifeguard supervising the top of the waterslides and another in the pool house.
Last summer, the city was able to operate the Pancoe pool seven days a week and the Dakin Pool two to three days per week for general swim time.
The lack of lifeguards left the city with three options, according to Willette: open the Dakin Pool on a similar schedule as 2021 and keep the Pancoe pool closed on the days the Dakin Pool is open; keep the Dakin Pool closed and operate only the Pancoe pool; or close the Pancoe pool but open the Dakin Pool.
While the Dakin Pool can hold about 150 swimmers, the Pancoe pool, which opened for the season on Monday, has a capacity of roughly 350 swimmers. The Pancoe pool also has significantly more parking than Dakin, according to Willette.