Cedar Rapids Parks and Rec hopes to see pre-pandemic attendance rates this pool season

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:48 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The water at Noelridge Aquatic Center is calm ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. Starting Saturday, swimmers will be making a splash and staff are ready for them.

According to Recreation Service Superintendent, Tony Ireland, they have been ready since the first of the year.

“It’s hard to find people that want to work in a competitive market, so starting that process early, getting them in, and making sure they can get through all the training that they need to,” said Ireland.

Getting ahead of the hiring process was especially important this year. Not only is it a competitive market for many seeking summer employees, but it’s also a long process to get certified.

“A lifeguard certification course is approximately 30 hours, and then there’s another 20-25 hours of training just for us that each lifeguard has to go through,” said Aquatics Program Supervisor Brian Ruffles.

Days before they open, the pools are fully staffed and hoping for a higher attendance than they’ve seen in years.

“With the pandemic being over, we’ve found that people want to get out and do things a lot more,” said Ruffles. “Weather-permitting, we’re hoping to have packed pools all summer.”

“It’s a testament for our numbers at our facilities and programs last year,” said Ireland. “Since the pandemic, we’re starting to creep back more towards 2019/2018 levels of participation and attendance at our facilities.”