Outdoor Pool Working Group 2020

Article 30 of the May 2019 Annual Town Meeting approved a resolution calling for preliminary study of options for locating a public outdoor swimming facility for Brookline Residents. As stated within that article: 

One of the more basic amenities to improve the quality of life for members of a community is the availability of some form of outdoor swimming in green space where all ages can come together for sports, relaxing and other forms of recreation. In years past, this option was available naturally in ponds, lakes and rivers. As increasing numbers of people moved to urban areas, municipalities increasingly took on the responsibility to artificially provide those opportunities. In the early part of the twentieth century, hundreds of public outdoor pools were built throughout the country. Some wealthier urban communities, however, preferred the option of relying on private clubs and pools in private yards.

Ironically, while Brookline apparently was the first municipality in the United States to build a public, albeit indoor, pool, in the late 1800s, we did not continue to progress in this area. While most of our neighboring comparable communities now have public outdoor swimming facilities (for example, Needham, Newton, Natick, Wellesley, Waltham, Watertown, Milton, Belmont, Norwood, Framingham, Hingham) and our closest neighbor, Newton, has both a pool complex and a lake, Brookline has none. For those residents in Brookline who do not have pools in their backyards, nor have paid to join private clubs, the local options are less than satisfactory. While the installation of sprinklers in neighborhood parks provide children with some form of outdoor water play, it is far from ideal. And when the temperatures soar, and other forms of outdoor exercise are not healthy to do – for either children or adults - the idea of going inside a muggy hot building to swim is far from enticing. Moreover, our indoor pool is old, lacking many of the amenities and accommodations that more modern pool facilities can provide to improve the experience for the young, old and disabled, including zero depth entry, play features, surrounding areas for play and relaxation, and the ability to provide formal therapeutic activities.

Since acceptance of the Town Meeting article, the Parks and Open Space Division has been examining conceptual “test fits” of standard size lap pools in effort to understand where within town such facilities could potentially fit from a size-only perspective. The Parks and Recreation Commission formed an Outdoor Pool Working Group comprised of five members of the Parks and Recreation Commission, along with three members of the public. The objective of the working group is to study options for the siting of an outdoor swimming facility for Brookline residents and present a recommendation to the full Park and Recreation Commission. 

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