Good news may be in store for residents who wish to beat the heat this summer at public pools in both Hellertown and Fountain Hill.
After remaining closed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, officials from Hellertown and Fountain Hill have announced plans to open their pools to the public once again this summer. However, a lifeguard shortage is putting those plans in jeopardy.
Fountain Hill Borough councilwoman Jamie Johnson said the borough had been keeping an eye on what recreational opportunities they could offer Fountain Hill residents during the pandemic.
“We started really thinking about what we can do with the pool around the beginning of the year,” she said.
At the borough’s April 5 council meeting, Johnson announced that the borough would operate the swimming pool located on the corner of Dodson and Spiegel streets, as long as they can staff it with lifeguards.
“Kids just don’t want to do it anymore,” Johnson said, referencing a shortage of lifeguards that has grown in recent years.
The Hellertown Pool located opposite Dimmick Park will also open this summer contingent upon the the hiring of lifeguards, Borough Manager Cathy Hartranft said.
Greater Valley YMCA is responsible for staffing lifeguards at both pools. Individuals interested in applying for either position may do so from the Greater Valley Y’s website.
To apply for the Fountain Hill or Hellertown lifeguard openings, individuals should select the Bethlehem location on the Greater Valley Y’s website. They should then specify which borough pool they wish to apply to in the comment section.
Hellertown council members recently voted to outsource the hiring of lifeguards along with day-to-day management of the pool to the YMCA after it was announced that longtime manager Ed Kolosky will not return to oversee pool operations this summer. The borough will still handle some other tasks, such as hiring concessions stand workers.
The Fountain Hill pool is tentatively scheduled to open for the season on Monday, June 14. The pool’s hours are noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week through Aug. 15, 2021. The borough plans to keep the pool open the final two weekends in August.
Johnson said the borough will follow CDC guidelines regarding operating public pools this summer, and mask-wearing and social distancing outside the pool will be enforced.
She said the borough is still looking to hire pool cashiers for the summer. Those interested in applying for the positions should print and fill out an application from the borough’s website and drop it off at Fountain Hill Borough Hall at 941 Long Street.
The Hellertown Pool is tentatively scheduled to open Saturday, June 12, and will remain open until mid to late August. It is also open seven days a week from noon to 7 p.m.
Residents may purchase a pool pass via the borough’s website. Hartranft said rates have gone up in 2021.
Hellertown residents pay the following season pass rates:
- Youth $65
- Adult $85
- Senior citizen $20
- Family (5) $150
- Extra $20
Single-day passes may be purchased for $5 for children and $7 for adults on weekdays, and $6 for children and $9 for adults on weekends. More information about admission rates can be found on the pool pass application.
Hartranft said COVID mitigation efforts will be in place at the pool this summer.
“We will be enforcing any COVID recommendations that are available from the CDC at the time of opening through the pool season,” she said. “Currently, we can open at 75 percent capacity, and masks must be worn when moving about the pool (grounds).”
Greater Valley Y CEO Dave Fagerstrom said the organization is looking to fill lifeguard positions not only in the two borough pools, but also across its Lehigh Valley locations.
“The Greater Valley Y has the need for approximately 50 lifeguards this summer. If you’re interested we can train you at an upcoming class,” Fagerstrom said.
The final two lifeguard certification courses begin May 1 and June 7. More information about lifeguard certification classes can be found on the Y’s website.