Labor shortage hits Fort Collins recreation facilities. Here are new hours, closures

The Northside Aztlan Center will close on Sundays beginning June 26.

A labor shortage that has plagued the city’s pools and parks is now spilling over to community recreation centers throughout Fort Collins.

The city is closing some facilities for one day a week and reducing hours at others, prioritizing its seasonal facilities, like City Park Pool and parks.

Front desk personnel and building attendants are in short supply, said LeAnn Williams, director of the city’s recreation department. “We’ve been struggling with that for a while. We can’t safely staff facilities, and when we can’t safely staff facilities, we need to modify hours or close some facilities.” 

That means starting this week, the Northside Aztlan Community Center in north Fort Collins will be closed on Sundays, Foothills Activity Center will close on Saturdays, and Mulberry Pool will be closed on Sundays and Tuesdays with modified hours the rest of the week, Williams said. In addition, the Senior Center will close at 5 p.m. rather than 8 p.m.

All scheduled programs and rentals will take place despite modified hours and closures, Williams said. For example, lifeguards will let in swim teams and people taking swim lessons at Mulberry, even if the facility is closed to open swims. And a building attendant will let in members of a church that meets at Northside Aztlan Community Center on Sunday. 

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There are no changes for EPIC, City Park Pool or The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. 

Michael Putlack said he was disappointed Northside would be closed on Sundays. “I enjoy going to the gym on Sundays. It’s usually pretty quiet in the workout area, and during football season it’s nice to watch the games I don’t care as much about to keep me distracted while I’m on the elliptical,” he said.

Closing Foothills and Northside on alternating weekend days “keeps a gym and weight room open” all weekend, Williams said. “We needed to make sure youth have a safe place to go for recreation.” 

To help with its recruiting efforts, the city has lowered the age requirement for front desk personnel from 18 to 16 and is considering increasing hourly wages from $13.25 for clerical aides.

Williams hopes new grants available from the state of Colorado will help shore up the pool of lifeguards to help with shortages in those areas.  

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Organizations can apply for up to $25,000 to help recruit and retain aquatic staff, Williams said. “We are still not fully staffed and still have modified hours.”

The grants would allow 15-year-olds or older who enroll in a lifeguard class and get hired to qualify for up to $1,000. “It’s a really good deal for youth. Hopefully that will spur people to sign up for lifeguard” training, she said. 

New schedules, new hours at Fort Collins recreation centers

  • Mulberry Pool: Closed Tuesdays and Sundays. Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 5:30-8:30 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.; Thursdays: 5:30-8:30 a.m.; Saturdays: 12:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Northside Aztlan Community Center: Closed Sundays
  • Foothills Activity Center: Closed Saturdays
  • Senior Center: Hours: Mondays through Fridays: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.