TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The city of Tucson is facing challenges with operating public pools.
"My rule is when you have cranky kids take them outside and put them in water. And this is both of them," splash pad visitor Sirena Husse shared. "The city of Tucson has six splash pads ready and waiting… and you don’t even need to know how to swim."
Currently, half of the City's pools are closed due to a lifeguard shortage.
"We live right across the street. This is our home park and I love this addition to it. 10 pools are open to the public… but 10 more are closed due to limited staffing," Husse explained. "A big pay raise for lifeguards may help to change that."
In order to encourage lifeguard applications, the City is now offering $16.75 per hour.
"It feels awesome. Lifeguards are now making 16.75 which is a huge improvement," lifeguard Kamryn Redlin told KGUN 9. "The city is hoping the raise helps with recruitment."
The Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to hire at least 200 lifeguards.
"If I had my dream I would hire 200 more lifeguards," said Parks and Recreation Director Lara Hamwey.
She says more lifeguards are needed not only to open up more pools, but to increase the capacity at the ones already open.
Hamwey believes higher pay will not only help with recruitment, but with retention for next summer.
"So yes I want to get pools open now, but I want to be confidents next summer we are not in the same place," Hamwey added.
She reveals six cooling centers will also be accessible through the weekend.
Brian Brennan’s fascination with weather began as a kid in Arizona watching the intense thunderstorms during monsoon. He has covered major breaking news, court trials, Nellis Air Force Base, and has put himself at the center of many weather events.