By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Aquatic Center is finding it difficult to find American Red Cross certified lifeguards.
“It’s hard to find lifeguards these days,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall. “Many teenagers prefer other summer jobs due to the pay and level of responsibility.”
Groveport Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund said there are many reasons why the number of lifeguard applicants has dropped off, including that many high school students play sports year round and cannot commit to a regular work schedule and that college students often spend their summers completing work internships. Additionally, Lund said Groveport is competing against several other pools in the area for lifeguards.
“Plus being a lifeguard is no longer considered an ‘easy job,’” said Lund. “Lifeguards have to work hard to keep up their skills.”
Adding to the problem, according to Hall, is that the Affordable Care Act requires that part time or seasonal workers can only work up to an average of 30 hours per week per year. If they surpass those hours, the city is fined. Because of this law, the city needs more lifeguards than in the past.
Lund said last year the city employed approximately 55 lifeguards and that, “Ideally we would like to see around 70 this season.”
According to Lund, the recreation department currently has 45 lifeguards on staff working anywhere from 4 to 29 hours per week. The lifeguards work at both the outdoor aquatic center and the indoor pool in the recreation center.
Groveport City Council approved the following incentives to attract new lifeguards:
•If a lifeguard works 20 hours a week in the pre-season and regular season as well as 15 hours per week post-season, the city will reimburse them the $220 cost of their lifeguard certification at the end of the season.
•While employed during the pool season, the lifeguard will have free use of the recreation center and aquatic center.
Currently the lifeguard position pay starts at $8.13 per hour. Hall said the city is considering raising that to $8.59 per hour for the outdoor pool season.
“We have the ability to do this if it’s within the budget and depending on the experience of the applicant,” said Hall. “We don’t want to run short of lifeguards. If we run short of lifeguards we’d have to limit the number of people using the pool. We need a lot of lifeguards.”
City donates bricks to history project
Council approved donating the city’s supply of old bricks to the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society for use in the society’s project of reconstructing a 62×21 foot former Ohio and Erie Canal era building.
The building originally sat near at what was once Sharp’s Landing along the canal route at the corner of Pontius and Rohr roads. The heritage society had the building dismantled and plans to rebuild it at a site along Wirt Road across from the Groveport Cemetery. The heritage society plans to use the building as a historical display of life during the canal era.
Hall said the heritage society ran short of bricks because some of the building’s original bricks could no longer be used.
“The city has a large stock pile of bricks at the water treatment site, as well as the bricks of the old water treatment plant, that are of no use to us,” said Hall. “When Public Works Superintendent Dennis Moore obtained bricks from ODOT from the state prison for the Blacklick and Front street intersection he had to take all they had.”
Hall said the brick donation adheres to the city’s policy of disposing of unneeded equipment.
Other Groveport news
•Council approved hiring two additional police patrol officers; an engineering administrative assistant; and two full-time clerk positions in the recreation department. Council also approved the deletion of the operations manager position in the recreation department and the addition of a customer service coordinator in the recreation department.
•Council approved changing the name of the “parks and recreation department” to the “recreation department.”
•Council approved a variance to the permitted uses for the property located at 540 Blacklick St. The property was zoned residential and Tim Sargent, who owns an HVAC business, applied for the property to be permitted for commercial use as a small mechanical contracting business to operate out of the front building on the property.