New River Park Pool closed for second year, caused by lifeguard shortage

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Summer is a time when people hang out at the pool with family and friends, but this summer the people of Beckley have one less pool to go to. According to the Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Beckley, Leslie Baker, the New River Park Pool will be closed again in 2021 after the city faced what many areas are facing – a lifeguard shortage.

“To operate a pool as big as New River – with an Olympic size main pool, and we have a baby pool, plus we have a deep end with two diving boards – I need at least 12 lifeguards,” Baker said.

The city has three lifeguards, which is enough to open up the pool at the Historic Black Knight. City Treasurer Billie Trump said normally city pools don’t bring a lot of money into the area, but it will still be a big loss.

“Not being able to open New River Park is going to be a detriment to recreation. There would be some days in the summer where we would have 400-500 people there,” Trump said.

While they can’t open both city pools, Baker is excited to offer one this summer after both were closed last year due to COVID. She said they will be taking the necessary precautions to keep people safe, and they have a lawn area for people to enjoy at Black Knight’s pool.

“We got a notification from the CDC that chlorine and pools kill the virus almost on contact. And we’ve always cleaned our bathhouses and bathrooms,” Baker said.

The pool at the Historic Black Knight is scheduled to open Memorial Weekend to kick off the summer. Hours will be noon until 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

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