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What to expect before heading to the pool this Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day is just a week away. The holiday weekend's unofficial start to summer brings the return of pool season in central Iowa.

ANKENY, Iowa — Summer has finally arrived ... well, it tried to a few weeks ago with those four 90-degree temperatures in a row.

But the unofficial start to summer is this weekend with the Memorial Day holiday. Central Iowa pools begin reopening, ready for the crowds wanting to enjoy consistent warmer weather.

In Ankeny, both aquatic centers combined average over 150,000 visitors each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

This year, there are still some lifeguard and labor concerns.

"We're about 90% of where we want to be. We'd take an additional 15 to 20 lifeguards to help keep both facilities open," said Nick Lenox, director of Ankeny Parks & Recreation.

In Atlantic, the situation is a little more dire.

"We usually try and operate with between seven and nine lifeguards. Right now, we're at three," Bryant Rasmussen, Atlantic Parks & Recreation director, told Local 5.

He's hopeful he will be able to find the help he needs by the time opening day rolls around in a couple weeks, but Atlantic's normal pool capacity of 200 will be knocked down to 70 if that difference can't be made up.

Both Ankeny and Atlantic have offered a substantial wage increase from prior years, along with more incentives, like reimbursed training and swimsuit stipends.

West Des Moines is in good shape as well, but is just asking the Local 5 weather department for their good graces.

"If you can bring some hot and good weather for the entire summer, we'd appreciate it," said Ryan Penning, West Des Moines assistant director for Parks and Recreation.

Here's when pools around the metro open:

  • Altoona: June 4
  • Ames: May 28
  • Ankeny: May 28
  • Clive: May 28
  • Des Moines: June 4 (Teachout Family Aquatic Center, Splash Pools & Spray grounds will be open for Memorial Day weekend)
  • Norwalk: June 12 (lifeguard/supervisor/swim instructor shortage)
  • Pleasant Hill: May 28
  • West Des Moines: May 28

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