Walsh announces start of renovations to Paris Street Pool

Last week Mayor Martin Walsh announced that renovations to BCYF Paris Street Pool will start this month. Walsh earmarked $8.9 million for the rehab and construction of the Paris Street Pool across from the Paris Street Gym. The Gym underwent a $12 million overhaul and the pool’s rehab will compliment the new state-of-the-art gym and community center.
The Walsh Administration’s investment in the pool will include a new pool filter room, mechanical and electrical upgrades, modified main entrance and lobby area, building interior and exterior repairs and other upgrades necessary to make it a more inviting and user-friendly space. The pool will close on Friday, March 13, and is expected to be closed for 14 months.
“This well-loved and well-used pool will be a beautiful, welcoming and open space offering more aquatic programming than ever once this project is complete,” said Mayor Walsh. “With the renovated BCYF Paris Street Community Center across the street and the renovated Paris Street Playground next door, I’m proud of the investments we will continue to make in the East Boston community.”
During the closure, swimmers will have access to the Umana Academy Pool on Border Street, thanks to a partnership with the East Boston YMCA which manages the Umana Academy pool. BCYF Paris Street Pool staff will transition to the Umana Academy pool and will offer programming on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On other days of the week, swimmers will be able to participate in programming offered by the YMCA. This partnership will give BCYF Paris Street pool members access to seven days a week of swimming opportunities. The full schedule can be found at Boston.gov/BCYF-Paris-Street.
“The East Boston YMCA is proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston to bring swim and water safety programs to the East Boston Community,” said Executive Director of the East Boston YMCA Joseph J Gaeta Jr. “We welcome BCYF Paris Street members to the Umana Academy to swim in a safe and supervised pool during the Paris Street renovation. We are excited about this collaboration.”
Due to YMCA procedures, BCYF Paris Street Pool members who use the Umana Academy pool during YMCA operation time will need to present a photo ID on the first visit to be run through their Hall Pass data system and will need to sign a YMCA liability waiver. Existing BCYF Paris Street Pool members (who joined prior to the March 13 closure) will be able to continue to pay BCYF Paris Street pool programming prices for East Boston YMCA-run programs at Umana Academy pool. New members will join through the YMCA. Swimmers must be members and enrolled in programs to participate.
“I know how much being a part of the pool community has changed my life,” said East Boston resident Mohamed El Haddad, age 18. “It has helped me stay focused in school and provided me with a safe, enjoyable environment. Being a part of Paris Street is more than just being a part of a community center or swim team. It is like being a part of a family and I believe I am a better person because of it. I am very excited about the pool renovation because they will allow so many more children and families to have similar experiences for many more years to come.”
When the pool was first built, it featured a glass roof, and sliding doors that looked out onto the Paris Street playground, as well as a veranda so residents could enjoy a swim and then sit outside during the hot summer months. The pool underwent an overhaul under then-Mayor Kevin White due to constant vandalism of the glass roof and glass doors. The pool was encased in cement blocks and now looks more like a bomb shelter than a community pool.
At a community meeting in September, a presentation by the architect included detailed information about what upgrades will occur and what the pool will look like. The pictures showed that the exterior of the pool will be fitted with new siding panels. An addition of the pool’s foyer will allow for more room and make the entrance more modern and inviting. There will also be an addition to the back of the building to make room for a family changing room–a feature that is absent from the current pool’s layout.
The side of the building that houses the pool that abuts the Paris Street Playground will be changed from a wall to windows. This will allow more light into the pool and better connect the facility to the playground. The building’s roof will also be transformed and will include skylights to bring even more natural light into the pool and make it feel more ‘open’.

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