Budlong Pool project gets RI Heritage nod

Posted 2/7/24

A final hurdle was passed for Cranston City Hall in January for the Budlong Pool project to begin the bidding process for construction, according to a letter obtained by the Herald.

On January …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Budlong Pool project gets RI Heritage nod


A final hurdle was passed for Cranston City Hall in January for the Budlong Pool project to begin the bidding process for construction, according to a letter obtained by the Herald.

On January 23, Joseph Lagana, Director of Community Development for the City of Cranston received a letter from Jeffrey Emidy, executive director and Interim State Historic Preservation Officer for the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), a state agency which (as the name implies) oversees the historical preservation of Rhode Island’s historic landmarks.

The letter summarized conclusions from a November 2023 study,  in which RIHPHC examined the historical significance of Budlong Pool, its poolhouse, and the surrounding property. The study was requested by the city as a stipulation to receiving funds for the project from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The letter references a letter  sent to Lagana in Nov. 2023 sayingt “It is the opinion of the RIHPHC that the Budlong Pool and Pool house are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A in the fields of Entertainment/Recreation and Community Planning and Development, and under Criterion C as a fine and intact example of WPA rustic architecture. Further study would be required to determine if the larger park is also historic and to define a period of significance.”

On December 20, Emidy and Project Review Coordinator for RIHPHC Elizabeth Totten

met with representatives of the City of Cranston and various consultants for the proposed pool project, after which RIHPHC “received a memo on the condition of the pool

including code and life-safety deficiencies, cost estimates for repair and replacement, and the

City’s intention for the property.”

From these events and further research done at RIHPHC, it was concluded that “the replacement of the pool with a smaller pool and associated improvements will have an adverse effect upon the Budlong Pool and Pool House.” 

However, the letter continues: “Based upon our review of the provided information, the RIHPHC concurs that the retention of the current pool or the replacement in-kind is neither prudent nor feasible – therefore, the adverse effect cannot be avoided.”

The letter further outlines the steps the city plans to take, and what further actions RIHPHC recommends the city take to mitigate these adverse effects. It reads “The City proposes to mitigate the adverse effect through (1) preserving the exterior of the pool house, (2) adding appropriate signage to the pool house, (3) demarcating the boundary of the historic pool through granite markers at the corners, and (4) installing educational interpretive displays to “relay images of the former pool and stats” on site. In addition to these items, the RIHPHC suggests the preparation of a Rhode Island Historic Resources Archive (RIHRA) for the property which includes photographs, historical context, an architectural description (of the building and pool), any associated historic images, and drawings (if available).”

Mayor Hopkins administration sees this letter as a victory for their project, which it has proven contentious among Cranstonians for years.

“It certainly substantiated the Mayor’s opinion that the pool was not able to be practically prepared,” Anthony Moretti, Chief of Staff for the mayor said in an interview with the Herald.

“I think that should hopefully satisfy a lot of some of the naysayers who say we should just preserve the pool,” Moretti continued. He noted that “[RIHPHC has] the most to gain to keep it in the old state.”

In regards to the stipulations listed in the letter, Moretti said “We're more than happy to memorialize the historical aspects of the pool in various fashions as they suggest.”

“The main notable structure is the pool house itself,” Moretti noted. “The integrity of that is going to be preserved, and the appearance of it is just being preserved, and that's what you see.”

Moretti says that this correspondence was a necessary step in order for the city to obtain the federal funding it needs to move forward with the process.

“That is part of the federal approval process,” he said. “We would require their consent to proceed.” However, he notes that it was not something the city was simply waiting around for. The bidding process moved forward concurrent to this study.

As to where the pool is now in its move towards construction, Moretti said that “The bid specs are out and I believe we're looking to early March to receive bids back.”

Budlong, pool, heritage


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here