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NEW: Providence Closes City Pools During Heat Wave

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 

The Davey Lopes pool was chained up on Wednesday morning.

The City of Providence has closed its public swimming facilities during the current heat wave -- following reports that chipping paint in at least two of the pools has prompted concerns for the condition of all of the city's pools.  

An employee at Zuccolo Rec Center said Wednesday morning that the pool was "closed for maintenance", and said that the pools at Pleasant Ave and the South Side Boys and Girls Club -- not city pools -- were open.  

The pool at Davey Lopes Rec was chained up and empty on Wednesday morning as well -- and a representative said that the pool was closed for the remainder of the summer.

SLIDES: See the Timeline of the Davey Lopes Pool Controversy BELOW

Davey Lopes had reopened last summer following public outcry after it had been closed in 2013.   GoLocal wrote on June 30, 2014:

The Davey Lopes pool in Providence reopened on Monday June 30 to over a hundred kids, parents, community leaders, elected officials, and political candidates who turned out to celebrate the official start of summer. 

There's water in the pool -- but it will not be open for the rest of the summer.

City Councilman Davian Sanchez, community activist Leah Williams Metts, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Chief of Police Hugh Clements, City Council President Michael Solomon, and City Council members Luis Aponte, Michael Correia, Kevin Jackson, Sabina Matos, and Nick Narducci were among those who welcomed the crowd, and helped cut the ribbon to open the pool to swimmers. 

The Davey Lopes pool was closed last year to political controversy and community outcry, prompting a swim commission in the spring followed by the announcement that repairs would be made and the pool reopened this summer. 

Summer Swim Program Curtailed

The city opened the pools on July 6 for the summer, which were supposed to be open for 8 weeks during the months of July and August.

The closures means that city residents will not have access to the neighborhood pools for twenty percent of the summer season.  

"For cooling down, the city offers five public swimming pools and eleven waterparks," said the city in a release in July. "Pools and waterparks are open from 12PM-5PM Monday thru Saturday for the months of July and August. Swimming lessons are offered three times per week."

 

Related Slideshow: Timeline of the Davey Lopes Recreation Center Pool Controversy

The controversy surrounding the Joslin Recreation Center Pool closure is just the latest city pool issue involving the Taveras administration. The pool at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center has been a highly contested issue since its closure in July of 2013. 

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July 2nd, 2013

Taveras Admin's Decision to close pool called Political and Racist  

 
Race:
 
“This is a class issue and a race issue. I'm angry and I've been this way for years. This administration (Taveras) is making it worse. We have them turning all the pools into what they're calling "safe pools," three and four feet deep--a swimmer can no longer use them,” said former State Representative Ray Rickman.
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July 2nd, 2013

Taveras Admin's Decision to close pool called Political and Racist

Politics: 
 
Councilman Kevin Jackson: “I'll tell you what I know. Our rec (recreation center) directors who run summer camps usually put together list of teens to work at these camps, to work at water parks. They were told that kids who put down they were in the district of any one of the council members who voted against the budget would not be hired.”
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July 9th, 2013

Youth Reaction

George Lindsey Jr. Age 13:
 
"It's been terrible since the pool's closed and it's been so hot. I've just been being in my house and sitting under the A/C. I go outside and play basketball, but then I come back in, because without the pool there's nothing else to do.
Being outside is just aggravating. People get into fights and stuff, but I don't want to get involved in that.  What I wish I could do is go to the pool. But we can't anymore since it's closed down."
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July 13th, 2013

City Report on Pool 

A report on Providence recreation written by a Mayoral Fellow to Angel Taveras – which was leaked to GoLocalProv -- showed that the city administration ignored its own commissioned analysis, while it has systematically reduced recreation services, notably the closing of city pools.
 
The report, drafted for the City by fellow Matthew Kramer, was presented to key members of the Taveras administration in August of 2011, and made strong recommendations about improving existing recreation infrastructure and expanding programs for city youth.
 
Read more GoLocal Prov coverage here. 
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July 15th, 2013

Crackdown on Employees Speaking About Pools

In July, the City of Providence has reportedly wrote up Davey Lopes Recreation Center Director George Lindsey following several stories which saw members of the community speaking out to express their concerns for the lack of swimming options during the recent heart wave, with the closing of the Davey Lopes pool coming on the heels of the shuttering of the Joslin Recreation Center pool last year.
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July 15th, 2013

Rep. Williams Calls on Taveras to Open Pool

Representative Anastasia P. Williams (D), who has represented District 9 in Providence since 1992, sent an official letter to Mayor Taveras calling for a "practical solution" to addressing the closure of the Davey Lopes pool in South Providence.
 
Read the Letter here
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July 16th, 2013

Council Statements: Councilman Terrence Hassett

"How can you isolate kids like this, and not let them swim.  I just think that's improper. These are young impressionable kids, who making friends at the pools, spending time with their families. What's better than that?"
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July 16th, 2013

Council Statements: Councilman Kevin Jackson

"We need to make sure this doesn't happen again.  I believe the City knew what they were going to do, and just didn't reach out to us to give us enough time or options."
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July 16th, 2013

Councilwoman Carmen Castillo

"I've reached out to [Councilman Sanchez] to work with him on this. I want to work with him to find out more about what can be done to reopen the pool."
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July 16th, 2013

Councilman Nicholas Narducci

"I don't think we should be closing any recreational opportunities for kids right now.  When you're having murders, violence, it's not time to cut the programs."
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July 16th, 2013

Councilman Michael Correia

"Out of all honesty...this pool has been in this position for quite some time.  The lower end had been used, but the deep end had been filled in. This isn't something that has happened over night. It's another piece of city property that's being neglected.  Everyone should have gotten together sooner to address the issue in order the fix the issue, either it was overlooked, or neglected."
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July 16th, 2013

Councilman Luis Aponte

"The city's attempts to close pools, or replace them with waterparks...it's about insurance, liability.  It's not lost on us."  
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July 16th, 2013

Councilman Davian Sanchez

"At our rally, we got a petition with over 300 signatures to keep the pool open. Since then, I've got a lot of phone calls, and they've all been positive. Most of the council supports this. State reps and senators have come out in support of this. And it's being held up by one person...the mayor."
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July 16th, 2013

Councilman Samuel Zurier

"I have no comment. I don't have enough information at this point."
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July 29th, 2013

ACLU Letter

A letter sent to the ACLU of Rhode Island by Providence City Council candidate Anthony Sionni claimed that the City of Providence violated its charter because "city residents have been denied the right to petition the Recreational Advisory Board as provided by the City Charter because that board is not presently in existence."
 
Read the letter here
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October 18th, 2013

Contractors Offer to Repair Davey Lopes Pool

Providence City Councilman Davian Sanchez announced Thursday that several minority contractor associations in Providence are "willing to provide the complete the necessary repairs" of the Davey Lopes pool that was the center of controversy this summer when closed.
 
Read more GoLocal Prov coverage here 
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October 21st, 2013

Sanchez: Taveras Threatened to Cement Over Pool

Elected officials, neighborhood leaders, and community supporters turned out Monday morning at Davey Lopes Recreation Center in South Providence in support of keeping the center pool open, with the aid of contractors offering free labor to fix the pool -- which City Councilman Davian Sanchez said he was told by the Mayor's office would be cemented if he didn't vote for the budget.
 
"I was told by an aide of the Mayor -- who was just a messenger -- that if I didn't vote for the budget, the pool would be closed, and ultimately cemented," said Sanchez.  
 
 

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