Mayor working with residents on potential plans for town pool

Mayor working with residents on potential plans for town pool

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Mayor Charles Lombardi is now working with resident Lucille Minuto, a user of the town’s now-closed pool, on potential options for its reopening.

Minuto, addressing town officials during a Sept. 1 virtual council meeting, reiterated her desire to see the pool behind the library reopened.

Lombardi said last month that the pool costs about $331,000 per year to operate, adding that while he hoped to reopen it, the cost of doing so while complying with state mandates would likely be prohibitive.

He told Minuto last week that his stance hadn’t changed and that he wasn’t going to tell her what she wanted to hear, but promised to work with her on any ideas she can bring to the table.

“Maybe we’ll come up with a plan,” he said.

Councilor Mario Martone asked what percentage increase the town could see in reopening expenses, and Lombardi responded that it would probably be a 30 percent increase.

That could obviously change, he later told The Breeze, if state mandates change and it becomes easier to reopen the pool.

Minuto said Lombardi’s previous analysis on the costs of the pool was missing revenues from memberships, and she also said she felt like the mayor’s suggestion of 10 more staff members needed to run the pool under restrictions might be inflated. Lombardi responded that he would be happy to go through the details on those needed staff members with her.

She added that she’s always wondered why the town doesn’t do more to advertise the pool as a destination, echoing Lombardi in calling it a “well-kept secret.” Minuto said she always liked using the pool because it wasn’t crowded, but if that lack of traffic means it can’t reopen because there’s not enough revenue, she’s all about running a campaign to draw in more people.

Lombardi said there have been a number of efforts to draw in more members over the years, including offering deals to encourage use.

Minuto said she doesn’t want to give Lombardi a hard time on the pool because she appreciates his fiscal responsibility and said the town has never been in better shape, but the pool is “so important to so many of us, (I just felt I) had to do something to get it open sooner rather than later.”

Lombardi responded that he’d love to see people be able to enjoy the pool again, and he promised to set up a meeting with Minuto to discuss her ideas.