All of southeast Wisconsin is struggling to find lifeguards to staff their various swimming areas. Two of the most conservative areas of the state are taking radically different directions to solve it.
West Bend, via the Washington County Insider.
Last week the West Bend common council voted 5-2 (with alderwoman Tracy Ahrens absent) to seek bids on what it would cost to fill a portion of Regner Park Pond to turn it into a 3-foot wading pond. The early cost estimate was about $100,000.
Waukesha, via Fox6.
Waukesha County Parks beach swimming season will open with Swim at Your Own Risk (SAYOR) hours at six beach locations on Friday, May 27. There will be no lifeguards staffed at any beaches this season due to the labor shortage.
West Bend wants to pour taxpayer money into the pond and eliminate it as a swimming hole. It would take much more money to reverse the decision and dredge the pond again when and if lifeguards are available again. (At the rate of inflation, it might be cheaper to actually fill it with dollar bills instead of sand, but that’s a different discussion.)
Waukesha takes the simple and free approach that respects citizens as competent people who can be responsible for themselves.
West Bend’s approach is something I would expect from Milwaukee or Madison.
Waukesha’s approach is something I would expect to see in… well… West Bend.
Get it together, West Bend. Be more like Waukesha.