Staff at Greenwood Beach makes sure no one enters except those in acquatics camp.

On a normal summer day, Ross Bostick and Adrian Garton would be checking passes at the Greenwood Street Beach, making sure that only Evanston residents could get in for free.

But now, the seasonal City of Evanston employees are at the Greenwood Beach entrance, telling people they cannot come in.

On Tuesday, the City announced that Greenwood Beach will be closed for the rest of the summer, due to a lifeguard shortage. The five other Lake Michigan beaches in Evanston remain open.

At least one potential beachgoer was not happy about the closing.

The woman was not aware of the shutdown, and, because she lives in Skokie, had to pay a $30 non-resident summer beach fee, even though her home is in the Evanston/Skokie school district.

“I want to walk on my beach,” she said, half-laughing, and half-not-so-pleased.

But, the answer was no.

It may be that the woman saw swimmers at Greenwood Beach, but those were participants in aquatics camp. Those city summer programs are allowed to use Greenwood, because certified lifeguards are among the counselors/instructors.

City acquatics camp is still allowed at Greenwood Beach. Lifeguards are among the staff.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  1. The whole thing is rediculous. If it were after Labor Day…or whenever the city officially closes the beach for the summer…it would be no problem. Now the city is paying people to tell residents the beach is closed….because they can’t afford people to watch over the beach??? Am I hearing that right?

    1. Hi Tim – The people being paid to tell residents the beach is closed aren’t certified lifeguards. The training and certification process for lifeguarding is a much higher bar than those checking beach tokens for entrance. Not the same applicant pool.

      Unfortunate certainly that Evanston can’t staff Greenwood Beach with certified lifeguards, but the available staff for such a job is much narrower than other seasonal city gigs due to the prerequisites in training/skillset. Could have been subpar planning perhaps on the parks & rec side, but I don’t have insights there. I saw that they’re at least increasing the wage of lifeguards a bit so hopefully that will attract qualified individuals in future years to meet the beach demand.

  2. How much money is the city losing from Devon Reid’s silly “free beaches” push from last year?

    Thanks, Devon! Beaches are free but we don’t have enough money to pay lifeguards enough to staff them! Who could have seen that one coming?

      1. No. Evanston has the money to pay lifeguards, it doesn’t have enough of them to cover all 6 of our beaches. We would be facing the same problem regardless of whether passes were free.

        1. Unless the increased volume of beachgoers makes the job less appealing to prospective life guards.

  3. Clark St. Beach has claimed more lives due to the dangerous currents that can form next to the sea wall. I’d close that one first, if I had to choose one to close. Regardless, highly-trained lifeguards are a must; Lake Michigan is the most dangerous of the Great Lakes.

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