Your Turn: Moms demand city open up the Charlestown pool

It has come to the attention of the parents of Charlestown that the Clougherty Pool is not scheduled to open this summer. This is unacceptable.

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Michelle Wu says Boston taking new look at closed Charlestown pool as frustrations simmer

Access to city pools is not just a fun way for kids to pass time on hot days; it is a crucial part of keeping our children safe when many lack the structured supervision the school year provides. Every hour we can keep our kids occupied and safe this summer is another hour we are doing our collective job to protect them.

We recognize there are other city pools, but kids need an outdoor option in our neighborhood. Many who are allowed to walk to the top of Bunker Hill Street to swim in the fresh air don’t have a caregiver to take them to the next closest outdoor pool in the North End.

Navigating that 1 mile, which requires public transportation or multiple traffic crossings, is not a viable option. No outdoor pool in Charlestown means they will not swim this summer. How they will use that time they could have otherwise been safe and engaging in a healthy activity, we cannot know.

More importantly, Charlestown has seen a significant rise in gun violence this year. The city of Boston — the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, Boston Police, and every single one of our public departments, including Boston Centers for Youth and Family — needs to be doing everything possible to make our neighborhood a safe and nurturing place to raise families.

At a time when Charlestown youth need supervised, accessible and affordable outdoor activities more than ever, keeping a neighborhood pool closed only further isolates some of our most-vulnerable children. We need to be growing the opportunities, not shuttering facilities.

If you want to keep kids safe, give them productive and healthy things to do. That means every pool in every neighborhood should be open.

Yes, we understand that pools are expensive to maintain, but that maintenance, or lack thereof, cannot come at the expense of our kids. Any safety issues at the Clougherty Pool can and should be anticipated and budgeted for every year. The pool was open last summer. Charlestown families deserve a thorough explanation of what has changed in 10 months and what solutions can be put in place to make swimming available safely for the very brief summer season.

If the issues are in fact too significant to allow swimming this year, what is being done now to prepare for next summer, so that we do not find ourselves, once again, days away from the end of school, with no acceptable outdoor pool option for the Charlestown community?

There are so many issues facing our city — issues that keep many parents up at night. Looking at the big picture, closing a pool may seem insignificant. But that pool is a vital community resource that supports the long-term health, well-being and safety of our children.

Please, open the Clougherty Pool. Our kids are counting on you.

Sincerely,

The Board of the Charlestown Mothers Association

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