To the Editor,
There has been a lot of misinformation spread, top down, about Budlong Pool, from City Hall. We all know that Budlong Pool has been enjoyed by generations of Cranston …
To the Editor,
There has been a lot of misinformation spread, top down, about Budlong Pool, from City Hall. We all know that Budlong Pool has been enjoyed by generations of Cranston residents. The mayor's current proposal to shrink the pool from its current 22,000 SF footprint to 7000 SF, much of which would be a wading or kiddie pool type area, is misguided at best, and a slap in the face to those Cranston residents who rely on it for cooling during ever warming summers, and for swimming lessons. Learning to swim is a necessity to prevent risk of drowning. Data shows 20 drownings in RI during 2022, which is 20 too many.
At the special city council meeting on Wednesday September 6, inadvertently convened by the Mayor to present his plan, the engineering firm Weston & Sampson presented pretty plans for a new water facility. This proposal includes the following:
-7000 square feet, as mentioned above
-estimated cost $3.5 million
-estimated lifespan of 40 years.
The same aquatics engineering firm was also asked, much more recently, to put together an estimate for repairing the pool, the results of which included the following:
-estimated cost $5 million
-estimated lifespan 10 years.
Either way, whether the existing pool is repaired or whether a new pool is put in, facilities, including the bath house, will be updated to be fully accessible for differently abled community members.
But don't be fooled. It's a conflict of interest for the same firm which stands to benefit from the construction of a prominent municipal pool in the second largest city in the state, to come up with an estimate for repair, many of the details of which were strongly contested by Tony Liberatore, the former pool director. Many in the community question the above estimates for repair and for new construction.
In addition, the new proposal included no space for teen recreation. Don't we want our youth to have healthy outlets for their energy? It did not include more than 3 lanes for lap swimming, and it included minimal to no shade. As a nurse, I'm cognizant not only of the benefits of a pool to the public's health but also of the need to prevent overheating in the sun, as well as skin cancer.
The City Council has many thoughtful and intelligent members who are more than capable of drilling down into proposed pool details and budgets to find a way to accommodate the large numbers of Cranston residents. We need a large pool that is ADA compliant, family friendly, teen friendly, and respectful of the community's attachment to this flagship meeting place, in a way that does not blow the budget.
The process from here on out needs to fully include the City Council, which up until now from all appearances has unfortunately had to fight tooth and nail to get information on the pool estimates and proposals the administration has not been sharing. It also needs to include voices of community members who have used and plan to use the pool. It is possible that last Wednesday night's meeting will be a step in this direction.
This campaign has nothing to do with partisan politics. It has everything to do with swimming in a large and welcoming pool!