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Pittsburgh set to open 15 pools this summer, including Bloomfield Pool

Mayor Ed Gainey stands in front of a group of city lifeguards at a press conference.
Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA
Mayor Ed Gainey joined city public works and parks and recreation officials Monday to announce which pools will open this summer.

With hot summer days just around the corner, Pittsburgh officials announced that 15 of the city’s 18 pools will open later this month. Among them will be Bloomfield Pool, a site kept closed last year due to mechanical issues and the discovery of a hole in the lining.

“I know how important this pool is,” Mayor Ed Gainey said at a press conference held at the facility Monday. “I grew up in East Liberty, I went to school with a lot of kids in Bloomfield. I know exactly what the Bloomfield Pool means to a lot of people.”

Bloomfield pool sits empty on a sunny day.
Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA
Bloomfield Pool.

Pools are scheduled to open Saturday, June 15 but official operating hours have yet to be determined. Pools slated to open are:

  • Ammon
  • Banksville
  • Bloomfield
  • Highland Park
  • Jack Stack
  • Magee
  • McBride
  • Moore
  • Ormsby
  • Phillips
  • Riverview
  • Schenley
  • Sue Murray
  • West Penn
  • Westwood

The three city pools that won’t open this year — each due to maintenance — are Homewood, Ream and Sheraden pools.

Officials said an ongoing renovation of Homewood Park precludes the city from staffing that site. Ream Pool, in the city’s West End, will remain closed due to deteriorated concrete creating a “trip and fall hazard,” Public Works Director Chris Hornstein said. He predicted the city would be able to repair the concrete and open the pool next year.

The other closed site is Sheraden Pool, which has not been in operation since before the coronavirus pandemic. Hornstein said officials have been working through needed repairs at that site over the last several years, including the installation of a new electrical system. Crews must still repair the pool deck and install additional equipment, Hornstein said.

Pittsburgh has been unable to open all 18 of its pools since 2019 due to pandemic restrictions and a struggle to hire enough lifeguards. At times, that struggle has meant that pools have had to share staff and limit their hours.

Officials did not say whether staff would need to be shared again this year, noting that lifeguard recruitment is ongoing. The city recruited guards through its annual lifeguard academy this past winter. But as of Monday, Vargas said interested people could still apply for training.

A swimming pool with the Pittsburgh skyline in the background.
Kate Giammarise
90.5 WESA
The Sue Murray Swimming Pool in Allegheny Commons Park.

The city has so far hired 140 people to staff the 15 pools, according to Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Vargas. That’s five fewer than it had enrolled this time last year. Vargas estimated that if all 18 pools opened, the city would need roughly 200 staffers to operate those locations.

But Vargas is optimistic that once the city is able to reopen the Oliver Bath House on the South Side, a year-long lifeguard academy will sustain the city’s lifeguard recruitment and training efforts.

“It’s going to be pretty transformational to us ... to have a full year lifeguard team that allows us to kind of cultivate and build up management,” she said.

The Oliver Bath House is expected to open this fall after major renovations are completed.

Vargas thanked the community for helping to spread the word about lifeguard recruitment this year, especially residents of Bloomfield who are eager to see their pool reopen.

“Opening these pools is truly a community effort,” Vargas said. “Bloomfield… came together this summer [and is] a big part of why we’re able to staff and open these pools.”

The city’s Parks department will begin training new lifeguards and finish filling pools next week.

Alanna Giglio, a 19-year-old graduating senior at the Environmental Charter School, is ready to start her third year watching over swimmers this summer.

"It's just one of the best summer jobs that you can have," she said. "The pay is really nice. The people are really friendly."

Giglio guarded the Bloomfield Pool her first year but was assigned to West Penn last year when the site didn't open. She said she was happy to see Bloomfield's pool return.

"It's one of the best pools that are going to open this year," she said. "I'm really excited about that."

Pool tags will be available starting opening day at all open pool gates. Officials said more information about operating hours would be forthcoming.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.