Shortage of open public pools in SWFL

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Public pools are so busy people are getting turned away, and the problem is the Fort Myers Aquatic Center Pool is the only open public pool in the city after Hurricane Ian damaged many.

The lack of pools in Southwest Florida is going to become a bigger issue with Summer approaching.

But Hurricane Ian isn’t the only reason for the problem, there’s also a critical shortage of lifeguards. So few are on staff at the aquatic center they no longer offer swimming lessons for kids.

“We were thrilled to have this pool open, and it’s beautiful,” Mary said while visiting the aquatic center.

For most, an ideal summer doesn’t include murky water, a pool floor littered with gunk, or a construction site.

“We used to go to the Yacht Club pool in Fort Myers. But they’ve closed due to the hurricane,” Mary said.

Because of that, Mary goes to the Fort Myers Aquatic Center the only public pool that’s open in the City of Fort Myers and the City of Cape Coral. But you should take note of the caveat.

“We are at a kind of a lower capacity,” aquatic supervisor Amanda Donnar said.

Like many pools across the country, the aquatic center is facing a lifeguard shortage, with just three when there should be 25.

“It doesn’t feel good to turn people away because they want to come here and have fun. But we do it for safety reasons really,” Donnar said.

The center is also facing a shortage of swim instructors which means kids can’t have their typical summer lessons.

“It breaks my heart because swimming lessons are the anchoring point of any facility, especially a pool. And we hope that finding lifeguards and finding instructors will help change that,” Donnar said.

Change it so no kid has to be turned away from the Summer fun.

It’s not all bad news though, on the bright side all four Lee County pools have reopened after the storm and offered swim lessons for children.

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