Northwest Iowa — With the hot temperatures this week, one headache that some cities are facing does not appear to be a big problem in northwest Iowa.

Many Iowans will be heading to their nearest municipal swimming pool for a cool dip, but some pools and water parks remain closed due to a lack of lifeguards.

While the heat is still an issue, most people in our area will still be able to go for a cool swim, as the lifeguard shortage doesn’t appear to extend to our part of the area.

We talked to Sheldon Recreation Director Jake Kerr, who tells us they haven’t been having any staffing issues at the Sheldon Outdoor Aquatic Center. He tells us he knows there is a lifeguard shortage elsewhere though. He says the main issue as he has been able to determine is wages. He says teens in the bigger towns seem to think, “Why work as a lifeguard when you can make $15 per hour working at Target?” He says sometimes training is also an issue. He says it is a commitment.

Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson says they also have no shortage of lifeguards. He says the Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center has been open full hours since the beginning of their season. He says, however, that like many area towns, the schedule becomes more difficult toward the end of summer when families are trying to get in last-minute vacations, fall sports practices begin, and college students leave for college. Anderson echoes Kerr’s thoughts about it being a bigger issue in bigger cities. He says his wife tells him the pool in South St. Paul, Minnesota remains closed due to staffing issues.

Orange City City Administrator Earl Woudstra says the Orange City Municipal Aquatic Facility is open, and they are “grateful to have a full staff.” Woudstra says they also handle the Alton Municipal Swimming Pool, and they also have no staffing issues at this time. He does concede that it is sometimes an interesting challenge to work around employees’ schedules.

At least one area pool is closed — but not due to staffing issues. Officials with the George Swimming Pool in George have advised their patrons that their pool has a leak, so they have to remain closed for now. They tell us that over the past couple of weeks since the pool was filled, they have noticed that the water level keeps going down. They say if they just kept adding water to the pool this would affect the chemical levels and also the heating of the pool. So, in order to ensure the safety of the patrons, they decided they need to fix the pool. In the interim, the Rock Rapids Municipal Swimming Pool is honoring the George Swimming Pool family and single passes that are paid in full. George officials tell us the City of George and the George-Little Rock School District are offering a shuttle bus for kids to ride to the Rock Rapids Pool until further notice.

Speaking of the Rock Rapids, Rock Rapids Deputy City Clerk Des Kopp tells us they have had no trouble finding lifeguards, and they expect to be open regular hours this summer.

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