Summer may be gone but the controversy over closing the Davey Lopes pool in Providence seems poised to follow Mayor Angel Taveras into campaign season. Supporters of the south side public pool that was shuttered this summer will be protesting a $500 a plate fundraiser for the potential gubernatorial candidate tonight.
“Lets see if we can get some of the $500 donors to make the check out to keep the pool open, instead of the mayors campaign account,” Anthony Sionni wrote on a Facebook event he created Sunday. “Make a protest sign and bring it with you and your family, we will meet in front of 50 Weybosset st at 5pm!”
Despite its importance to families in South Providence, the pool was closed this summer. Some people say it was closed for financial and attendance reasons while others say the closure was largely political punishment because Providence Councilman Davian Sanchez didn’t support the municipal budget.
The loss of the pool was felt hard by the the South Providence this summer. Leah Williams wrote about it for RI Future:
As a child, I learned how to swim at Davey Lopes pool. I enjoyed hours and hours of free daily swim. As a teenager, I worked there as a lifeguard and volunteered after hours as a swim team coach, rather than become part of the cycle of violence, drugs and promiscuity that’s so prevalent among our youth. I’m quite certain that the experiences and memories drawn from those days kept my path straight and contributed greatly to the positive and productive person I am today.
However, this year, there was no laughter, no smiles, and no direction provided by the pool that was such an important part of my summers growing up in South Providence. Instead, there’s a neglected, decaying shell, and a City government that, save a few clarion voices, seems more interested in spouting hot air, than providing cool water for their citizens. In a bloated city budget of over $650 million, it astonishes me that city officials cannot allocate .0001%, or roughly $50,000, to repair and revitalize this local treasure. At its most basic level, local government should be a place for people to come together, and not to be left behind as is the case with South Providence.