The Chicago Park District will save $700,000 over the summer by trimming hours for the city’s 800 or so lifeguards, said Park District spokeswoman Marta Juaniza. Lifeguard times will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Swimmers face fines if they enter the water when lifeguards are not present.
Chicago’s approach is unique for a major city and is “manifestly unwise,” warned U.S. Lifesaving Association President B. Chris Brewster.
“The reason you’ve had lifeguards providing services at the time they have is because that’s when history shows they’re needed,” he said. “The failure or absence of lifeguards means potentially death or serious injury. It’s a bit unrealistic to expect that laws are going to resolve your public safety problems.”
Juaniza said Park District statistics show the eliminated beach hours came at times when people weren’t swimming, anyway. “We did do the research and discovered a lot of people weren’t coming to the beach until noon,” Juaniza said
But the city DOES have $500 million to back the 2016 games. The city DOES have $86 million to buy the Michael Reese Hospital site. How long will we put up with this incompetence and citizen rip off?