To the editor,
After reading last week’s article about the continuing Budlong Pool saga, I wanted to make some corrections and clarifications to the Mayor’s error-filled presentation …
To the editor,
After reading last week’s article about the continuing Budlong Pool saga, I wanted to make some corrections and clarifications to the Mayor’s error-filled presentation at the 9/6 forum, focusing on the false and/or misleading statements from the forum that are repeated in the article.
The article provides a lengthy summary of the pool’s condition as reported by Mark Mariano, the head of the aquatics division of Weston & Sampson. The article does not mention that at the 9/6 meeting, Mr. Liberatore flatly refuted the most significant concern raised by Mr. Mariano—that the pool was leaking massive amounts of water when it was last open, or that Mr. Mariano admitted that he based that claim entirely on a conversation with an unidentified source—and not on any firsthand observation or testing. (Mr. Liberatore also noted that a pump was installed to keep ground-water from displacing the pool liner and has elsewhere noted other inaccuracies, such as the claim that the pool does not have federally-compliant pool drains.) The article suggests that any concerns about Mr. Mariano’s objectivity was put to rest by the fact that he confirmed his company would not be doing the actual construction of the pool, just designing it. But, the fact that Mr. Mariano’s company is being paid a significant amount by the City to design the Mayor’s new pool (and has another, bigger contract with the City to work on its comprehensive plan) is reason enough not to rely solely on his advice.
The story of the Budlong Pool since 2021 has been a story of government dysfunction and incompetence, and contempt for Cranston residents. A decision this financially and civically consequential should never have been handled this way, with the constant inaccurate and misleading representations by the administration, the withholding of information from the Council, the covert planning and lack of community input, and finally the effort to force through a plan in the face of widespread community opposition.
What we have been saying all along is simple and remains true. The people of Cranston—who overwhelmingly do not want to see the Budlong pool destroyed or replaced by a small pool designed primarily for small children—deserve information and answers. At minimum, there should be an evaluation of the pool’s condition by a disinterested expert with a detailed explanation of the costs involved in restoring the pool and giving it a reasonable life expectancy. If restoring the existing pool is cost-prohibitive, there should be estimates for the range of costs for replacing it with pools of various sizes—from something comparable to the size of the existing pool to smaller versions. And, comparisons of plans should take into account associated costs and benefits of various options. For example, the $3.5 million cost estimate for the Mayor’s pool does not take into account the cost of the other amenities which he plans to install alongside it. Nor have discussions taken into account the economic, social and health benefits of a larger pool that, among other things, serves the City’s camps and provides a healthy and safe social outlet as well as vocational training and employment for Cranston teens.