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Pool Wars! Neighborhood Parents Irritated by Midday Closing of Mirabella Pool for City Campers

North End’s Mirabella Pool on Boston Harbor (NEWF Photo)

“It’s a simple timing issue that we wish the city would fix” said an exasperated North End mother. The issue at hand is a new city policy closing the North End’s Mirabella pool to the public weekdays between 3-4pm for the exclusive use of a city-run summer camp group.

At a meeting with local officials this week, parents asked the camp swim time to be moved earlier in the day so it would not interrupt public use in the middle of the hot summer afternoons when neighborhood kids are most often looking to be at the pool. Citing the safety concerns of the summer camp and new, stricter policies, city officials have not changed the midday closings.

Here is what happens: Each afternoon, Monday through Friday, shortly before 3pm, pool workers announce the clearing of the water and the pool deck. Participants of the city’s summer camp, between 20-40, then arrive at the pool for lessons and open swim. The original schedule also had a half-hour maintenance period, which the city adjusted so that the pool could reopen right after the camp swim period. Officials emphasize the one hour closing is worth it for camp safety, but residents cite the timing right in the middle of the day.

“Everyone has to leave the pool deck based on ratios for City licensed camps which are more strict than ratios for the general public,” said North End liaison, Maria Lanza, on behalf of BCYF and the Mayor’s Office. She continued, “They need to control and monitor who is in the area with the camp. The 17 City owned pools operate this way to ensure camp compliance and safety. They cannot rope off the pool as they need to separate campers based on swim ability, so they do need the entire pool. By clearing the pool for camp they reset counts and start fresh with an empty pool. It helps them control occupancy and daily maintenance of the pool. The City understands that this is not ideal for all, but they are not willing to compromise the safety of the children under the camp’s supervision.”

Parents say it is forcing neighborhood kids on the streets as they leave the pool for the North End, West End and surrounding areas. Adults and seniors are also asked to move out of the pool area, of which some relocate to a water spray area in front of the pool. Other North End kids are walking over the N. Washington Street bridge to go the Charlestown pool.

The new city policy of clearing the pool comes after a tragic 2016 death of a 7-year old boy who drowned while attending a similar city-run camp in South Boston at Carson Beach, run by the Curley Community Center. Earlier this year, the City of Boston reached a $5 million settlement with the boy’s family. In the North End, it is the BCYF Nazzaro Community Center that runs the pool and summer camp.

Neighborhood parents are hoping for a compromise, but time is running out with the pool set to close in nearly four weeks on Labor Day.

“It’s really sad when my 13 year old son and his friends have to walk over the bridge to the Charlestown pool to swim when we have a neighborhood pool right around the corner from where we live,” said Lynn Bova a lifelong resident of the North End. “I’m so disappointed.”

40 Replies to “Pool Wars! Neighborhood Parents Irritated by Midday Closing of Mirabella Pool for City Campers

  1. I totally agree, the camp kids should have a morning swim time. We used to spend most of the day at the pool and now we barely go because of this. If you want to control the amount of people going to the pool there has to be a better way, maybe only let North End residents use it or just city residents only.

  2. I was very disappointed to find out that the pool would be closing at 6:45 pm this summer instead of 8:00 pm as it had in the past. I used to enjoy coming home from work and spending some time relaxing at the pool during the week but with the 6:45 pm closing time I have not had as many opportunities to do so and when I do get to go it is only for about an hour. I know many of the North End residents who work 9-5 during the week feel the same and would love to see the pool go back to a 8:00 pm closing time for the 2019 season!

  3. Another Change happing at the North End pool. No more chairs can be locked up. We have been doing this for years. Never had any kid get hurt. The one person who claims her kid got hurt must not have been watching her kid playing with the chairs What a shame for us North End People being push aside. I complained and had signatures from even out siders to keep the chairs. Guess 1 person won. Shame one whoever took her side.

  4. The pool closing for the safety of our neighborhood kids attending a city sponsored camp should be the priority. I think the time they have use of the pool is short. My understanding is this should have been happening for years. I think the safety and a fun summer for our Nazzaro kids is worth the inconvenience. An afternoon swim is something to look forward to. I like the policy.

    1. First, nobody thinks the safety of children is the issue. It’s the timing.

      Second, it’s not an afternoon. It’s FiVE afternoons.

      Third, the camp kids also have the pool 4 additional times on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 -10:45. So they receive ample pool time.

      Lastly, why can’t Nazzaro find more activities for their kids besides swimming?

      1. Again thank you North End Resident. All we have been asking since pool opened is for a time change. No need for a camp to swim mid afternoon. Find more activities for the camp and give them the morning swim slot. No one wants safety of kids more then me being a mom of 2. Just looking for a time change!!

  5. And while we’re at it, why are there no day passes this year? My family was in for a visit from New Jersey and would have had to take out 4 non-resident memberships for over $100 just to swim for one afternoon! Last year they were all able to come in as my guests for $3 each. Very reasonable. What happened?
    BCYF family friendly? I doubt it!

      1. I agree NE resident. These day passes have contributed immensely to the overcrowding- especially on the weekend.

  6. This is so ridiculous! First of all, why do we pay to go to the Mirabella Pool? So, let me get this right, We pay ($5, $10, $20 or $40) to become a member (money order only), the pool opens at 11:00 am and at 3-4 pm they close for the Nazarro Center Camp, and you are asked to leave the pool, the deck and nobody can you the bathrooms? My head is shaking! The tragic death of the young boy in Southie that downed was at a beach, not a pool.
    Why are we paying for the pool? Those of us that own property here in the North End pay high property taxes.
    If you are a member of the Nazarro Center, and pay a fee for the pool and pay for camp, isn’t this considered triple dipping?
    Do any other Boston pools pay membership fees?
    Where is the money from the property that Emily Pagliuca (not sure of the spelling of her last name) left to the North End? The interest alone should be a pretty penny Im told

    1. i am happy you own property, but the renters in the north end are the ones really paying the majority of property taxes. at the end of the day, the north end is fortunate to have a pool and $20 a year to use it is about the best deal in town.

      1. My parents were renters with 6 children until 1976!!! How do you figure that the “renters in the north end are the ones really paying the majority of property taxes”? I don’t gauge my tenants with high rents and the majority of my tenants in my property is family, like the whole North End used to be!!!!
        What’s your point? We never paid for the pool growing up in the North End!!!!!!

  7. Walking from the N. End pool to the Charlestown pool would take 35-40 minutes. Then, they would also need to walk back for a total of 70-80 minutes, before they even swam. Waiting an hour at the N. End for it to reopen seems smarter.

    1. Long Walk…just so you know the walk to the Charlestown pool is not 35-40 min. It is probably more like 10-15 minutes. But no matter if it’s an hour, North End residents, preferably my 13 year old son and his friends, should NOT have to go to another city, whether 5 min away or 1 hour away, to swim in the middle of the day, when they have a community pool right around the corner. Doesn’t seem smarter for 13 year old boys to sit and wait around either! Do you remember when you were a teen and it was summer and 90+ degrees at mid-day. Where would u want to be? Outside a pool waiting to get back in. Probably not…I’m sure you get my point.

      1. I do not get your point. The Charlestown pool is at 350 Bunker Hill St….from 514 Commercial St = it is a 31 minute walk. And, Charlestown is not another city = still part of Boston. Allowing others a mere hour out of the day isn’t going to kill anyone. Relax & Wait….where has Patience gone.. A google map for your reference…..,+Boston,+MA+02109/350+Bunker+Hill+St,+Boston,+MA+02129/@42.3744,-71.0706811,15z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e3708b99a8223d:0x47a5fb348487bb14!2m2!1d-71.054831!2d42.3679644!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e370e8b121b75f:0x8686fc61c74fe2a3!2m2!1d-71.0680409!2d42.3814499!3e2

        1. I think her point is that camp swimming should not take place in mid/late afternoon 5x per week.

          According to the schedule the camp kids also have the pool for swimming lessons (tuesday and thursday from 9 am – 10:45). If this is still the case, then they have the pool 7x per week. Like I said, it’s a scheduling issue and Nazzaro needs to find more activities for the kids to do than simply swimming.

        2. Not sure if you have kids but a bunch of 13 year old boys don’t have “patience” to sit and wait over an hour in the hot weather and high humidity. They rather be on the go and like I said before, they shouldn’t have to go to another “city” pool when we have one right here in our neighborhood.

  8. Good point Life Long North Ender. The way I understood it, in the past the registration money was primarily used to pay for overnight security. But there is no overnight security this year!!! Just two No Trespassing Signs posted outside. I think this needs to be looked into.

    1. Thank you A North End resident/Mirabella Pool member,
      Where is the membership money going??? Nazarro is a mess, ready to fall down. The pool isn’t the best ever and the concession stand doesn’t have a hotdog machine anymore and stuff in there is falling apart too.

  9. I don’t even go to the pool, but this is ridiculous. Talk about right in the middle of the day for people that go. What a backwards policy.

    Also, closing on Labor Day is too soon. It should be open, at least on the weekends, through September….

  10. Mayor Walsh’s administration continues to put in place initiatives that erode at the quality of life of the cities residents and in particular North End residents, it comes to no surprise he didn’t get the support of our neighborhood last election. The North End is the most densely populated Neighborhood in the city and perhaps the country with around 10 thousand residents in under a square mile and this type of policies affect us all and in particular families that against all odds want to raise their children in Boston. Wether selling our resident parking spot to car share enterprises, supporting methadone clinics in the outskirts of our community or a garbage collection and recycling program that promotes dirty street while creating profit from ticketing and towing vehicles for the to environmental policies like bicycle lanes that congest and contribute to traffic gridlock and the effect that has on air quality. The Walsh administration should pay attention to our residents concerns and demands and be reminded that his job is to serve our communities not to impose on them.

    1. I am a Walsh supporter but by no means do I ageee with every decision he has made. I can’t imagine we would agree with every decision a political figure makes. It’s impossible.

      I agree with some of your sentiment but let’s be clear. The bike lanes were approved under the Menino Administration not Walsh. He just happened to be in office at the time of construction. The methadone clinics i believe were already in operation prior to Walsh. As for the tickets – i think the City failed. They should have raised them even more – especially on event night at the Garden.

      Mayor Walsh still gets my vote.

  11. Where’s Lydia Edwards? This community voted heavily for her and yet I haven’t seen her help in any way. Isn’t she our City Councilor?

    1. Maybe she can hold that coffee hour (or 2) at say 3ish on a monday – friday at the Mirabella Pool. That would be great!

  12. Good point, life long North Ender. I was made to understand that, in the past, the bulk of the registration money was used for overnight security. But there is no security this year! Just two No Tresspassing signs!!
    Where is the money going? I think somebody should look into that!

  13. I believe the city is trying to implement too many changes all at once. As city residents we should have at least been afforded an opportunity to speak. I also know that that comes with inherent problems also because ppl hate change and will not reason. In the end, as well intended as some of these changes are, they were rolled out in a poor way – thus the outcry/resistance.

    I am a lifelong resident and this use to be the North End Pool. That is no longer the case. It is a City of Boston pool and needs to be shared with all residents of Boston. Not just North Enders. We need to move past that thought process.

    That being said there doesn’t seem to be any forethought with scheduling. There is no reason for camp to swim 5X a week. No camp swims that often. Is the Nazzaro Ctr not planning enough for their kids to do that they have to rely on the pool so much to entertain the kids? I truly believe it’s a matter of scheduling and getting a bit more creative. Hopefully this can be worked out in a productive and considerate way.

  14. Thank you Mr. Mendoza for your, as always, oh so true observations/comments.
    Let us not forget this same Parks Dept is responsible for the upcoming redo of Puopolo Park (on Commercial Streeet in front of the pool) and has made the decision to replace the North End’s only natural GREEN space with artificial turf. So the kids can hang around and play on a 100 degree plus field while they wait to get back into the pool.

    1. This is the City. While I get your point if you want more greenery then I may suggest living in the suburbs.

  15. Walsh did get 75% of the North End vote last election, so he must be doing something right in the neighborhood.

    With that said, they should change this policy.

  16. I think we have to come to terms with the fact that the schedule is not going to change this summer. Hopefully, they will revisit these changes for next summer & plan better.

  17. I, for one, think clearing the pool in the afternoon is a good thing. I say this because tempers at the pool flair in the afternoon. Too many skirmishes and screaming arguments. They make for local entertainment but they also get out of hand.
    I think the pook afternoon break should even be extended to the weekends.

  18. no matter what the community wants to change for the ben. of our children, some how the City always gets their way!
    Unfortunate for our children!!! Start early next year to get this thing settled! It’s such an easy fix just change the swim time.

  19. I just can’t understand how kicking out kids and elderly during the hottest part of the day is a good idea. Once outside the pool they wait an hour with no shelter from the sun, exposing them to heat stroke and sunburning. Not cool.

    Put the camp after lap swim. And while you’re at it, how about changing lap swim to 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.?

    Such an easy solution.

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