Despite rising temps, Lufkin pool remains closed

Despite rising temps, Lufkin pool remains closed

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Summer heat means the opening of pools, but Lufkin is having to keep the pool closed at Jones Park on the north side of Lufkin.

"Every time I drive through here, the pool could have been open," City Councilmen Robert Shankle said. "That could have been 30-40 kids out here playing during the day; six or seven days a week."

The city was unable to get the required amount of lifeguards need to open in time for the beginning of the summer. This is the second straight year to have the pool closed. The year before that, the pool was closed early after the lifeguards had to go back to school.

"I don't know what the answer is," Parks and Recreation Director mike Akridge said. "We're not getting any bites. We have gone to the Boys and Girls Club to get names and numbers of people and we can't get any response."

Akridge pointed to a possible reason being that the process to become a certified lifeguard is not quick and is not cheap. Akridge also believes the pool only being opened in the summer is a disadvantage.

"We are not like Livewell or the Boys and Girls Club," Akridge said. "We are only here for the summer. The other places look a lot better for those wanting to get a lifeguard job."

The pool cover has been over the surface for the last two years and the pumps have been turned off, which leads to another issue with the pool.

"We don't know what kind of problems we would run into even if we tried to open the pool at this time," Akridge said.

Shankle visited the pool when he was a child and said it is an important part of the community.

"When summer time came, that was the place to go," Shankle said. "My mother would send me and my siblings there so we had something to do. Now, on opening day I would usually be in line to be one of the first to get in."

Shankle said there is a misconception on the area that he does not believe in.

"[In 2010] a lifeguard got beaten up over here," Shankle said. "I think that's the reason they shut it down and then the word got out that you don't want to work at Jones Pool. "I would have said that before because of the incident that happened the year prior but since then we have opened it twice and we haven't had any kind of incidents. As a council member, I would also come by here each day to make sure everything was good and no one had any problems. I just wish we could get the pool open."

Akridge said the city does have three splash pads located at Chambers, Kiwanis and Jones Parks. The city also promotes the Boys and Girls Club pool located on Reguet street.

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