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The pool at River Park in Lincoln Square is one of 37 that will open July 5. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

With only 55% of lifeguard positions filled, the Chicago Park District is limiting access to “underutilized” beaches in order to redeploy staff to neighborhood pools, 37 of which will open July 5.

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The Chicago Park District’s River Park, located in Lincoln Square. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

More than 55% of the department’s 587 seasonal lifeguard positions were vacant as of Thursday, according to Chicago Park District data, eight days after officials announced the city’s 49 outdoor pools would not open on schedule — leaving Chicagoans to swelter during a record-breaking heat wave.

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(WTTW News)

Park District Superintendent Rosa Escareño joined “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the ongoing shortage and acknowledged that some neighborhood pools may not be able to open at all if the Park District can’t fill some 300 lifeguard positions.

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The Chicago Park District’s River Park, located in Lincoln Square. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago Park District officials acknowledged to WTTW News that it had not been able to hire enough lifeguards to allow its 49 outdoor pools to open as scheduled on June 24, blaming a “national shortage” and “several other factors.” 

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

“We need lifeguards NOW and are offering great incentives to anyone who is a strong swimmer and interested in keeping the public safe,” Rosa Escareño, Chicago Park District general superintendent, said in a statement.

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(WTTW News)

Legislation signed Thursday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker now mandates the placement of rescue equipment along Lake Michigan access points, including piers.

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(WTTW News)

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the start of Chicago’s summer beach and boating season. Here’s what to know before you hit the sand and water.

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Chicago Park District superintendent Rosa Escareño calls the CPD day camps “the best deal in town” from a cost perspective, she wants people to know that there are discounts available for those who need it. (Courtesy Chicago Park District)

The warm weather has finally arrived, and that means it's time to start planning your summer activities. The Chicago Park District opened registration at the park district website for all its summer programs, including the one many parents have been waiting for — day camps. 

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Rosa Escareño appears on Chicago Tonight on July 31, 2021. (WTTW News)

Rosa Escareño planned to retire in July as commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection after 30 years with the city, but agreed to lead the beleaguered park district after the scandal erupted.

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Cherry trees blossoming in Jackson Park. (Chicago Park District)

The cherry tree blossoms in Jackson Park are quickly becoming a beloved springtime tradition in Chicago and they’re about to hit their peak.

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A bust of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. (Wikimedia Commons)

DuSable Park has been a park in name only since Mayor Harold Washington dedicated the site, at the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, in 1987. Wednesday, a design team was selected to bring the vision to life.

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The newly named Dr. Conrad Worrill Track and Field Center at Gately Park. (Facebook)

The Chicago Park District’s state-of-the art track and field center at Gately Park in Pullman, which opened in 2021, owes its existence to decades of pushing and prodding by the late Conrad Worrill. Now it’s named for him.

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Guien the agave, at Garfield Park Conservatory, Feb. 7, 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Guien the agave continues to amaze. She’s now topped 20 feet and is fast approaching the Garfield Park Conservatory’s glass ceiling. Staff are trying to get the plant to slow her spurt.

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Fallout from a scandal within the Park District’s aquatics division continues to reverberate. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

If confirmed by the Chicago City Council, Andrea Telli would be the first person to join the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners after a scandal ousted the district’s top leadership.

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Jackson Park, in spring. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Jackson Park Advisory Council has canceled its February meeting due to concerns related to COVID-19, delaying an anticipated vote on controversial changes to the group's bylaws.

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Jackson Park, in spring. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Jackson Park Advisory Council is proposing a change to its bylaws that would raise the bar in terms who’s considered a voting member. Critics say the move is designed to limit input from “newcomers,” and they want the Chicago Park District to intervene.