Aquacourt opens Saturday with new feature

Local4 News at 5
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 7:41 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - As summertime approaches, it’s go time for area swimming pools and waterparks. On May 27, the gates officially open at the Hastings Aquacourt and the new operating hours will be from noon to 7 p.m.

This week the staff is going through training and preparation to have the park ready for customers. The Park also boasts a new feature.

“We got lily pads for kids and adults to climb on,” Ryan Martin, Recreation Superintendent for the city of Hastings, said. “So that’s going to be kind of a neat feature. In the past we had animals that they would climb on but we’re going to move those out towards the playground, and we’re going to add in lily pads. So kids can act like frogs and climb across the lily pads; it should be a good time this summer.”

Martin said the Aquacourt is doing much better than last year when it comes to staffing lifeguards.

“We’re doing better with staffing this year,” Martin said. “The numbers are up. The increase in payroll has really helped us this summer, compared to the last couple of summers. So we have lots of staff lined up, and so we’re busy right now putting together schedules, and trying to get everything filled in shift wise.”

Martin said lifeguard wages have increased from $10.50 per hour to $13.50, and that all lifeguard positions are filled. Now, the only thing left to work on is lifeguard shifts, and with the influx in applicants this year, one lifeguard is confident history won’t repeat.

“Well last year we started the season off with about, I’d say 45 lifeguards,” Jacob Haase, Head lifeguard at Hastings Aquacourt, said. “Gained a couple lost a couple, ended the season around 38. We’re starting the season off strong with about 51, and because of that we’re more confident.”

The Aquacourt also had additional candidates due to the YMCA pool being closed for remodel.

“That did help a little bit,” said Martin. “The lifeguards that they have at the YMCA obviously they’re not able to work this summer with the pool closed down for their renovations. So some of them have applied here with the city, and we’ve hired them. So that’s kind of helped out with the numbers as well.”

Martin said the adjusted hours comes from studying other parks. He’s confident the new hours will be beneficial to everyone.

“Eliminating the one hour difference is basically helping shorten our shifts for staff to help us keep from burnout and keeping our shifts filled, and really the seven to eight o’clock time frame we didn’t have a lot of people here in the past,” Martin said.

Martin said cutting hours isn’t hurting the Aquacourt, and the new operating hours will help them keep the park staffed at all times.