Save Davey Lopes Pool!
A Providence native, Lopes has been an inspiration to Rhode Islanders, as both a star in baseball's World Series and a Major League Baseball coach for over 40 years and counting. The Recreation Center, and in particular the pool, had always been a place where people could come together in peace and enjoy an afternoon, or evening, of fun and relief from the soaring temperatures of a mid-summer's day here in South Providence.
As a teenager, I volunteered at the pool as a swimming coach, and I always looked forward to my time spent there. I'm quite certain that the experiences I drew on 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 is 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 its citizens.
In a bloated city budget of over $650 million this fiscal year, it astonishes me that city officials cannot allocate roughly $50,000, less than one one-hundredth of 1 percent, 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.
Despite countless print and online articles, demonstrations, radio broadcasts, television coverage, and a sea of social-media posts clamoring for the pool to be repaired and reopened, the pool stayed silent all summer long. My children found their smiles and their laughter at the Providence Marriott, at Foxwoods, or at other locations that a much greater strain on my family's budget than one one-hundredth of 1 percent.
Life does go on, and there are inevitable changes in the landscape of any city. My feeling is that this particular landmark and the native son who lent his name to it deserve more respect and thoughtful consideration.
Mayor Taveras, the people of South Providence have spoken with a clear voice. We want our pool back! Our neighborhoods boast the most culturally diverse segment of our fine city. The children here are just as worthy of a place to congregate in peace, and summer fun as the children on the East Side or Mount Pleasant or Smith Hill. The song of their summer laughter is just as sweet as any you will find in the great city of Providence.
Please, let this be the last summer that they're forced to look elsewhere for such a place.
Leah Williams Metts is a mother of four, marketing director, and a court-appointed special advocate volunteer from South Providence.
In efforts to privately fund the pool to be fix and reopened we for our we are asking for your donations.