Latest as of August 24:
Commissioner Sullivan reacted to statewide concerns and extended hours for a number of pools to August 30. Thank you Commissioner Sullivan!
Original McCrehan Story:
Richard Sullivan, Commissioner of DCR, and Robert Healy, City Manager in Cambridge, have reached an agreement to extend the season of the McCrehan pool on Rindge Avenue by one week from 8/16 to 8/23. I’m grateful to both of them for this decision; they are splitting the cost with no supplements to their budget.
A lot of people helped advocate for this decision. I’m particularly grateful to Senators Tolman and Gallucio and to the City Council of Cambridge for weighing in. I know that Councilor Kelley, a pool neighbor himself, worked particularly hard on the issue. Neighbor Anna Kiefer led in organizing neighbors in support.
The pool is one of the key state recreational assets in my district. It is very heavily used by the dense neighborhoods that surround it. It is immediately across the street from the high-rise housing in the Rindge towers and also serves the expansive low-rise housing of Jefferson Park and the dense multi-family houses off of Rindge Avenue. On a hot summer afternoon, there are often over 100 people playing in the pool and another hundred lounging around it. In a neighborhood that has recently been frightened by several shootings, it seemed important to give people a way to stay cool.
It’s a bit embarrassing that the state cannot afford to keep the pool open longer and had to turn to the city for help. The city manager was understandably reluctant to set a precedent of contributing the operation of a basic state facility, and that explains the limited extension of one week, when two or three might have made sense. But I’m glad for what we now have.
One additional note of gratitude: DCR has followed through on the final round of improvements to the McCrehan plant, finishing off the bathroom improvements that greatly contribute to the cleanliness and useability of the pool.
There is a “structural” issue here that has not been mentioned, which is that the guards are mostly college students who go back to school well before public school students. Keeping them later is hard.
I live about 4 blocks from McCrehan pool and use it frequently. I have always thought DCR should keep the pools open through Labor Day and I’m glad there is at least a 1-week extension this year. Many city and state summer programs end mid-August leaving families with far fewer options in the last few weeks of summer. But for the pool, I’m not sure where they would find the guards to keep it open.
Thanks, Tom. You are right to be concerned about guard availability, but I’m told that’s all set for McCrehan this year.
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