The city moved to still the swirling currents of rumor around a shuttered pool in Charlestown, seeking to assure still-frustrated residents that the goal is to keep the swimming area afloat.
“It’s been kind of kicked down the line ever since then, and we’re now at a point this summer where the filtration system is completely broken and hazardous,” Mayor Michelle Wu told reporters Tuesday morning of the Clougherty pool in Charlestown.
She added: “We’re getting another analysis this week from just an outside vendor 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.”
This follows a protest Monday night in which hundreds showed up to object to the closure of the 73-year-old pool, which the city’s Boston Centers for Youth & Families announced Friday.
Residents said the city kept too much of a damper on its pool plans — and the void has been filled with worries and rumors from people in the area. Worries flew that a community center was on the move there, that development was coming and that The Town was simply being punished.
Mary Gillen, who organized the protest, said Tuesday that she was glad to hear the city saying more about its plans to keep an outdoor pool there, but called the situation nonetheless “worrisome.”
“Save our pool and tell us the truth. I’m not sure I’m going to get both, but we’ll see,” she told the Herald. “We want the vision of the neighborhood to be what the community wants.”
Community member Erin Woods added, “If it’s a safety issue of course you close it, but what we’re looking for is confirmation that it’s not a permanent closure.”
City Councilor Gigi Coletta, whose district includes Charlestown, said the “iconic” pool is important for people who live there.
“I understand and share frustrations with the lack of advance notice, decades of neglect, and questions that remain unanswered,” she said. “The goal is to try to open the pool this summer but only if necessary repairs can be done to ensure the safety of its users.”
Two different reports commissioned by the city spotlight the very real issues at the pool. A 2017 report led to temporary measures to shore up cracking supports, but nothing more permanent.
Then came the report this April, which described the facility as in “fair to poor condition throughout, primarily due to age and exposure to both the elements (exterior) and to the harsh chlorine environment (below-grade areas, filtration room).”
The report said a “major” overhaul was needed beyond the 2019 fixes, and it alluded to how “a replacement facility is planned in three years’ time,” though the city didn’t comment further on that.
The report did point out specific needs in terms of shoring, draining and filtration that needed to happen before the pool could open.
In the end, the locals’ outburst of frustration is partially about the pool — but is also the result of a bit of a dam bursting on local’s frustrations with the current state of a changing Charlestown.
“People are fearful we’re going to lose another thing in Charlestown,” Woods said, noting a bus route changing, major development continuing and the underpass around Sullivan Square remaining out of commission.
Gillen added, “Enough is enough.”