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Bangor Parks and Recreation forced to keep Dakin Pool closed this summer

The department said due to a staffing shortage of lifeguards and supervisors it will only be able to open the Beth Pancoe Municipal Aquatic Center this summer.
Credit: NCM

BANGOR, Maine — The lifeguard shortage affecting the Bangor community has gone from bad to worse, forcing Bangor Parks and Recreation to close one of its two public pools this summer. 

The department announced until further notice, the Dakin Pool will remain closed. 

"I've been here for fourteen years, this is the first time we've ever had a shortage of lifeguards to this extent," Debbie Gendreau, Bangor Parks and Rec. assistant director, said.

Gendreau said she typically needs about 30 staff members to fully staff the pools each summer. This year, she said there are less than 20 on the team, and only 12 of them are lifeguards. 

"It's just impossible for us at the moment to operate both," Gendreau said.

Bangor's other public outdoor pool, the Beth Pancoe Municipal Aquatic Center, will be able to open, but Gendreau said she can't guarantee it being open every day.

"Honestly, at this point, some days here at Pancoe we probably will be closed because we won't be able to staff this place and we don't want to jeopardize safety at all," Gendreau said. 

Gendreau added she's tried everything from social media to job fairs and emails to recruit staff, but the applications just aren't coming in. Lifeguard and supervisor positions are available, and Gendreau said hourly pay ranges from the minimum wage of $12.75 to $14.

Bangor Parks and Recreation also won't be able to offer any swim lessons this season due to the shortage.

The Beth Pancoe pool is set to open this Monday. It is expected to be open for afternoon swim every day between 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., and for evening swim Monday-Friday 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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