New start, new season, same old closings


Every year, Evanston residents look forward to going to the beach on hot days to cool off, hang out with their friends and listen to the sound of Lake Michigan. This year, the water has been an especially important refuge with the summer’s record-breaking temperatures. In addition, for the first time in many years, the beaches are free to all Evanston residents. 

Last year, Evanston beaches were heavily criticized after reports of abuse and assault came out against Evanston’s lifeguards. According to The Report to the City of Evanston Regarding Allegations of Misconduct Within the Parks and Recreation Department, the lifeguard program recommended, “A complete overhaul of the way the city runs the lakefront, and also urges officials to consider the discipline of those responsible for the failures.” 

Unfortunately, another issue has come up in terms of Evanstons lifeguards. It’s simple: there aren’t enough of them. This lifeguard shortage isn’t just in the Chicago area– it’s nationwide, and it’s been the cause of many beach closings. Locally, twenty three new certified lifeguards joined the Evanston lifeguarding team, but that number was still not enough to keep all of the local beaches open. Because of this, Greenwood Street beach was closed for the second year in a row (Prior, Greenwood was closed because of shifting shorelines). Greenwood has consistently had the fewest number of people visiting, and it is still the smallest beach in Evanston.

Overall, Evanston’s beaches have had both environmental and political hardships in the past couple of years. Hopefully, by changing the culture for those that work on Evanston beaches as well as hiring lifeguards earlier, our beaches will overcome these obstacles and finally be a safe place for everyone in the community.