Town edging toward plan to reopen pool facility

Town edging toward plan to reopen pool facility

NORTH PROVIDENCE – With the help of resident and town pool enthusiast Lucille Minuto, Mayor Charles Lombardi says the town is getting closer to answers on how it can reopen its municipal pool facility in a safe way.

Minuto last week updated the Town Council on discussions with the mayor, detailing the various barriers to reopening, including upgrades such as adding stalls to the communal men’s showers.

The pool has been maintained and the staff is still on duty, she said, adding that she and others are greatly looking forward to the reopening of the pool and natatorium.

Lombardi said he’s happy to see Minuto working so hard to develop a good understanding of what goes into running the pool and that she’s taking such an active role in reopening it. Sometimes the toughest tasks are sitting down with someone and telling them things they don’t want to hear, he said, but he felt it was necessary in this case.

Minuto told the council that visitors to the pool, located behind the library on Mineral Spring Avenue, would be required under any reopening plan to take a shower before getting into the water and would then have to leave without taking another shower or getting changed, similar to the way YMCA facilities are operating.

She said a reopening would require use by appointment, with eight people at a time being assigned one lane each and having a one-hour session, 45 minutes of which would be in the pool.

Other obstacles include difficulties in identifying an adult lifeguard to watch the pool and a lack of overall revenue. Minuto suggested that rentals to other swim teams, though they’d cut into time for locals to swim, would help lessen the financial burden of the facility. She said she and others would be willing to make the sacrifices needed to make it work.

She conceded that reopening the pool will not be easy under current restrictions, with much higher projected costs associated with it, saying it’s going to take sacrifices on everyone’s part to make it happen.

Council President Dino Autiello thanked Minuto and said he’s also been in conversations with a friend of his involved in swimming who’s brought up options where the facility could turn a profit. He and the council sent a letter to Lombardi asking for a full update on the pool’s status at their next meeting.