First Cedar Rapids pool now open for summer, with other openings delayed by lifeguard shortage

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After no public pools in Cedar Rapids were opened last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were finally able to take a dip in the city’s municipal pools starting this weekend.

But for now, only one of Cedar Rapids’ five outdoor pools is open, with a shortage of trained lifeguards delaying the opening of all pools.

With warm, pleasant weather this weekend and only one option for swimming, some people at Noelridge Aquatic Center, which opened Friday, said it seemed a little more crowded there this Sunday than a typical summer Sunday.

“We were kind of surprised when we drove up to see a big line,” Stephanie Tuuri of Marion said. “I think just everyone’s excited.”

Kaiylee Smith of Cedar Rapids said she and her brother, Garry, waited about half an hour to get inside Noelridge on Sunday.

“Some people go to other pools, but this is the only pool open, so yeah, it’s going to be crowded,” she said.

Cherry Hill Aquatic Center was scheduled to open this weekend as well, but that date was pushed back a week, with its regular season now starting June 12, after it took longer than usual for the city to hire lifeguards, who are still training.

Bever, Ellis, and Jones pools are supposed to open in late June, but the city said that timetable could change, depending on staffing levels.

Tuuri, who visits the Noelridge pool around once a week with her family during a typical summer, said she’s glad to be back, though she might adjust her schedule if the pool remains busy.

“I think we, in the future, will kind of plan our times when to come,” she said. “We’ll try to figure out when it’s a little bit less crowded.”

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