Graham Kilmer
MKE County

36 Pools, Splash Pads, Water Parks Opening in 2024

Parks opening far more pools in 2024 after making waves with lifeguard hiring.

By - May 23rd, 2024 04:50 pm

A Milwaukee County Parks lifeguard. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks.

Milwaukee County Parks will open 36 outdoor aquatic facilities this summer, a sharp increase from 2023.

Parks will open two water parks, three deep well pools, eight splash pads and 24 wading pools. The department will begin by opening Cool Waters Aquatic Park in Greenfield Park on Saturday, May 25 for Memorial Day weekend. Most other facilities will open in mid-June as the school year ends.

“As we gear up for another summer in the sun, I’m thrilled to announce the opening of our aquatic facilities Milwaukee County Parks.” Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said in a statement. “My administration is committed to providing safe, accessible, and enjoyable recreational opportunities for residents, families, and children. I am encouraging folks to dive in and enjoy all that our parks have to offer this summer!”

A full list of pool openings can be found at the end of the article.

Parks opened 27 aquatic facilities in 2023. The department has struggled to recruit enough lifeguards to staff beaches and aquatic facilities in recent years. At least 200 are needed to staff the whole system. Last year, the department began the season with approximately 90 guards. Parks begins the 2024 season with 136 guards committed.

“Our extensive recruiting efforts for the Milwaukee County Parks Lifeguard Corps has paid huge dividends, with 76 new lifeguards joining the fold,” Smith said. “This influx of new aquatic staff, along with the retention of over 60 returning dedicated lifeguards from a year ago, has allowed us to open more facilities than we’ve been able to in recent memory. We hope to continue to build on this momentum and add to our team even further in the years to come.”

The extra guards allow Parks to open a fifth outdoor pool this year. The department has not yet decided which pool will open. County beaches, however, will once again go unguarded in 2024.

In late 2023, former supervisor and current Alderman Peter Burgelis managed to add $300,000 to the department’s budget for pool openings, just in case they exceeded their recruitment expectations and were able to open additional pools. The funding was intended for any maintenance needed at pools that have not opened in years.

The Milwaukee County Board has funded pay increases and bonuses for lifeguards in recent years to boost recruitment. Parks also created a new position in 2024 focused on lifeguard and seasonal worker recruitment. The department needs approximately 500 to 900 seasonal workers every summer to maintain and program the parks system.

“The highlight of living in Milwaukee is summer and one of the most valued parts of summer is spending it at the pool,” said Sup. Sheldon Wasserman, chair of the board’s Committee on Parks and Culture. “With the increasing amount of lifeguards, we are able to open more of our aquatics locations and our long-term goal is getting the number of lifeguards back up to pre-COVID levels.”

Deep Well Outdoor Pools (Open June 15)

Splash Pads (June 20 – Aug. 18)

Wading Pools (June 20 – Aug. 18)

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Categories: MKE County, Parks

2 thoughts on “MKE County: 36 Pools, Splash Pads, Water Parks Opening in 2024”

  1. Jhenry1131 says:

    Thank you, I am so excited that my family can enjoy these pools this summer.

  2. BigRed81 says:

    Three south side swimming pools.
    Zero north side pools. Lincoln Park pool must be opened.

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