Lifeguard Shortage Forces Early End to Buckner Park Pool Season

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Due to a shortage of lifeguards, the Municipal Pool at J. Dan Buckner Park is being forced to end its season early.

Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. announced at the Aug. 1 City Council meeting that the pool is closing effective immediately.

Traditionally the pool closes on weekdays once Dickson County schools start their new year and remains open on weekends through Labor Day. But the inability to keep the required number of lifeguards on staff after schools opened Aug. 1 means the pool is closing.

“We started the summer with 28 lifeguards. We lost about six or seven before July 4th,” Weiss told the council. “And we lost all but six as of Friday. So, we’re down to six lifeguards. It takes nine to operate the pool for one day.”

Public Works Director David Travis said most of the seasonal lifeguards are high school students who returned to school Aug. 1 and have other commitments on weekends. A few college students work as lifeguards but they also are preparing to return to school and unable to continue working.

Dickson Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Cherie Wilson had announced July 18 that the pool was limiting its daily capacity to 150 people at a time in the pool area due to the staffing issue. The pool is required to have one lifeguard on staff for every 25 people in each area of the pool facility, including the deep end, shallow end, children’s pool and deck area.

“The safety of our patrons is our number one concern, and being understaffed is a risk we are not willing to take,” Wilson said in announcing the pool closure Aug. 2. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Wilson said anyone who purchased a 2022 season pass can call the parks department at 615-446-1721 about receiving a partial refund.

With the Buckner Park pool in need of renovations, the Dickson City Council has approved a 2022-2023 budget that includes $1 million for a pool project. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has begun discussing the options of renovations to the existing pool or construction of a new aquatic facility at Henslee Park.

Mayor Weiss has asked the board to look into the option of an indoor or covered pool facility that would be open for year-round use, making the lifeguard positions full-time instead of part-time seasonal workers.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will begin discussions on the future of the pool facility at a special session at 6:00 pm Tuesday, Aug. 9, in the Council Chambers at Dickson City Hall, 600 East Walnut St. Also on the agenda are discussion on upgrades and renovations to facilities at Buckner Park and a possible first responder-themed playground behind Dickson Fire Department Station #1 and the new Dickson Skatepark.

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