The Boston Centers for Youth & Families, and the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department hosted a community meeting last Wednesday at the Paris Street Community Center regarding the upcoming renovations to the Paris Street Pool.
Mayor Martin Walsh earmarked $8.9 million for the rehab and construction of the Paris Street Pool across from the Paris Street Gym. The Gym recently underwent a $14 million overhaul and the pool’s rehab will compliment the new state-of-the-art gym and community center.
When the pool was first built, it featured a glass roof, 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.
The plan, according to the city is to restore the pool back to its original glory and strengthen the connection between the pool building and the adjacent park.
According to city officials at the meeting, the pool will close in January 2020 and renovations should take about 14 months to complete.
At the meeting BCYF and Public Facilities officials unveiled pictures of what the pool would look like once construction is completed.
There were numerous ‘oohs and ahhs’ from pool members that use Paris Street for exercise on a regular basis.
The pictures show 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’.
The investment to the pool will also 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.
At the meeting, longtime East Boston High School swim coach Dave Arinella wondered if the city could delay the start of construction by one month. This, said Arinella, would let the swim team finish their season at Paris Street before having to relocate to the Mario Umana pool next year.
The city said they would explore that option but cautioned that the city is eager to get construction started as soon as possible.
Paris Street Director Nicole DaSilva added that her team has been working closely with the Umana School and the East Boston YMCA, who runs the pool there, to transfer as many swim programs to the Umana’s pool while construction is ongoing. However, DaSilva said because the Umana pool is housed inside a school building there will be limits on swim times, lap swims, aquatics, etc. and these programs most likely won’t be able to start until late afternoon, evenings or on the weekends.