PRESS RELEASE FROM JOPLIN PARKS & RECREATION:
Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff of the summer swim season in Joplin.
Schifferdecker Aquatic Center, located at 4th and Schifferdecker, will open for the 2019 season on Saturday, May 25. Schifferdecker will be open 7 days a week. Hours will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays until 8 p.m. Admission is $5 for visitors age 15 & under and $6 for visitors 16 years old and over.
Cunningham Aquatic Center, located at 26th & Maiden Lane, will open for the 2019 season on Saturday, May 25. Cunningham will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $4 for visitors age 15 & under and $5 for visitors 16 years old and over.
Ewert Aquatic Center, located at 7th & Murphy Blvd., will open for the 2019 season on Sunday, May 26. Ewert will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is $3 for visitors 15 years old and under and $4 for visitors age 16 and over.
There is no charge for children age two and under at any of the pools, when accompanied by an adult.
As in many cities nationwide, Joplin’s Parks and Recreation department is facing challenges staffing pools with the correct number of lifeguards. The Department is continuing the modified schedule that was implemented in 2018 and staggering the pools’ season opening dates.
“The number one priority at the City of Joplin aquatic centers is the safety of the visitors,” said Jessica Johnson, Recreation Coordinator who directly oversees the aquatic program. “Our centers are staffed by American Red Cross-certified lifeguards. We need approximately 90 lifeguards on staff to operate safely.”
She noted that the facilities are unlike simple rectangular pools the public attended years ago. “With water slides, a lazy river, and diving boards – all of which everyone enjoys – it takes many more eyes to watch the water than a standard pool,” she said.
The nationwide trend of lifeguard shortages is starting to impact Joplin. “One issue we’re facing is that many lifeguards are involved in several other activities, which can impact their availability. Unfortunately, this can affect our operations. Without the required number of guards, we can’t open a facility.” said Johnson.
The Department is still recruiting lifeguards and will host a training on June 4 and 6 for applicants. “We would like to open all three pools every day of the week, but we will need more people to apply and successfully complete the training.” said Johnson.
Johnson encourages anyone interested in becoming a lifeguard to apply at the Human Resources Department at Joplin City Hall located at 602 S. Main.
The Parks & Recreation Department is also selling season swim passes. They are available to purchase at Joplin Athletic Complex at 3301 W. 1st Street in Joplin. Scholarships are available to those who qualify.
For more information about the pools, season passes, swim lessons, or prices, please call the Joplin Parks and Recreation office at 417-625-4750 or visit www.joplinparks.org.