On Tuesday night the Charlestown community came together to get updates from city officials, voice their frustration and discuss options for BCYF’s Clougherty Pool on Bunker Hill Street.
It was announced earlier this month that due to maintenance issues BCYF would close the neighborhood’s only outdoor pool for the summer season.
At the meeting the city officials reported that the pool had recently undergone a third party audit and the results of that report forced BCYF to announce the pool would be closed for the summer.
Citing the audit BCYF officials said the condition of the Clougherty Pool facility has raised serious safety concerns and the city was unwilling to jeopardize the safety of the pool’s patrons and the staff.
Rep. Dan Ryan said the city initiated a second third party audit and the results should be reported in the next few days.
However, Ryan said while there is some hope emergency repairs could make the pool swimmable for the summer, he did not want to give false hope.
“Look, if the audit comes out tomorrow or Friday it will still take around three weeks for the pool to open, depending on what the report says,” said Ryan. “So you are looking at mid-summer when all is said and done.”
At the meeting Ryan wondered if it made more sense to just bite the bullet this summer and allow major repairs to be done to bring the pool up to better standards.
Rumors began swirling earlier this month about the possible closure of the pool. At a City Council hearing two weeks ago District 1 City Councilor Gabriela Coletta put a spotlight on the rumors and asked Boston’s Chief of Human Services Jose Masso to elaborate on if the Clougherty Pool would be closed.
A few days after the hearing, BCYF announced the pool’s closure and offered up nearby pools like the BCYF Charlestown Community Center pool as well as BCYF Mirabella Pool on Commercial Street in the North End as other options for swimming.
“Thank You to the Charlestown’s community for their advocacy on (trying) to get the Bunker Hill pool open,” said Coletta. “Last night, Rep Dan Ryan, Councilor Erin Murphy and I met with members of the Charlestown community to provide insight on the state of the Clougherty Pool. I am continuing to pursue answers and action so that this pool remains a community resource for years to come.”
The meeting Tuesday came on the heels of protests last week after it was announced the pool would be closed for the summer.
Last week, Mayor Michelle Wu told reporters maintenance on the pool has been “kind of kicked down the line.”
“We’re now at a point this summer where the filtration system is completely broken and hazardous,” she told reporters. “We’re getting another analysis of what it would take, could there be some very, very short-term fixes that would kind of hold us over one more season, but the truth is that this pool needs major renovation.”
In a letter sent to the city last week, Charlestown Mothers Association wrote, “Access to city pools is not just a fun way for kids to pass time on hot days; it is a crucial part of keeping our children safe when many lack the structured supervision the school year provides. Every hour we can keep our kids occupied and safe this summer is another hour we are doing our collective job to protect them.”
The group called closing the pool a public safety issue.
“Charlestown has seen a significant rise in gun violence this year,” wrote the group. “At a time when Charlestown youth need supervised, accessible and affordable outdoor activities more than ever, keeping a neighborhood pool closed only further isolates some of our most-vulnerable children. We need to be growing the opportunities, not shuttering facilities. We understand that pools are expensive to maintain, but that maintenance, or lack thereof, cannot come at the expense of our kids.”