Community Activists Fighting Permanent Closure of South Providence Pool

Oct 21, 2013

A controversy is brewing over the future of the Davey Lopes swimming pool in South Providence. The mayor says it’s too far gone to repair. He wants to replace it with a water park. But community activists are coming together to save the old watering hole.

Providence city councilor Davian Sanchez will hold a press conference at the Davey Lopes recreation center today to oppose the city’s plans to demolish the pool.  The city is going out for bids to cement the pool over with the ultimate goal of turning it into a water park.  But Ray Rickman president of Swim Empowerment says minority youths need a place to go where they can learn to swim.

"Seventy percent of African Americans cannot swim. And African American teenagers are three times as likely to drown as the rest of the community," said Rickman.

Mayor Angel Taveras has said the pool is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. An email to his spokesman to find out if he would reconsider was not returned. The pool was closed all last summer because of maintenance issues.

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