Mayor Hopkins talks next steps for Budlong Pool after sitting unused for 4 years

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — The City of Cranston’s 83-year-old Budlong Pool remained closed during the hottest summer on record.

Cranston’s Mayor, Kenneth Hopkins, met with community members Wednesday night to talk about possible next steps to reopen the community staple and how long it might take.

Since 2020, the the city has kept the Budlong Pool closed year-round. Initially, it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2022, the city ruled the pool was unsafe to operate.

Residents said they are getting tired of not having the resource in their community as temperatures continue their high trend.

“For three years they didn’t have a voice and the frustration built up over weeks, over months — what’s really going on? The process here has been absolutely ugly and I think everybody on this stage, in their heads, can admit to that,” one resident said during the public comment section of the city council meeting.

Officials from the Cranston Mayor’s Office spoke Wednesday night about their plans moving forward, saying the previous temporary fixes won’t work anymore.

“I know many of you that are here tonight want to fix the old pool. If I could fix it right now and open it tomorrow, I would. But hopefully as you listen to my approach and listen to the information that I bring to the table tonight you’ll understand why I’m thinking the way I am.” Mayor Hopkins explained.

The engineering team hired by the mayor’s office estimates a full restoration project could cost taxpayers around $5M for about 10 years of use.

The other option would be to replace the pool, which could cost an estimated $3M, but provide for possibly more than 40 years of use.

Mayor Hopkins also said that ARPA funding may be an option for the project.

“We’ve been given a one-time opportunity by the federal government. Do we use millions of dollars to make a temporary fix? Is that prudent spending of taxpayer money, based on the past history of this pool?” Hopkins asked, addressing meeting attendees.

Even with Wednesday night’s update, a real solution is a long way away, and patience among community members is running thin.

“So much of what I’ve heard tonight has made the perfect the enemy of the good. The good being having the facility operational,” another community member said during the meeting.

Mayor Hopkins initially unveiled his plan for reopening the Budlong Pool back in March of this year.

Categories: Cranston, News, Rhode Island