Tag Archives: city pools

InCity Times’ 12th B-day issue is also our swimsuit issue …

By Rosalie Tirella

… Looking at our paper today made me realize: NO INTRO to our swimsuit spread!

So, here we go …

The swimsuit photos in this issue of ICTimes were taken at Worcester city/state pools and beaches. I, like we do every year, took pics of the real Worcester we all know and love: the multicultural, diverse, young, old, skinny, heavy, lithe Woo gals we see everywhere – women all uniquely beautiful. A few years ago,  a woman in her late 50s was our cover gal. She looked great! Last year, a Latina gal strutted her stuff. This year, several city beauties grace our front cover (in color, off course!).

What I would especially like to add here (and I know I’m off-topic): I took my swimsuit photos during the recent heat wave – when the Woo streets were hot enough to fry an egg on, when my lil’ dog Jett  hung around the window fans panting, when Worcester folks had to WAIT IN LINE TO GET INTO THE STATE POOL TO COOL OFF. During a heat wave!!! When the temp (for 4 or 5 days) was 94 degrees F – and with humidity factored in – close to 96, 97 … AND PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE TO GET INTO THE WATER.

I asked the lifeguard sitting at the front desk at the state pool (it was about 1:30 p.m): Why is this happening? Why aren’t these 50 people in the water? Why are they waiting in a heat wave?  Why are they lined up like this?! There are older people in line, little children, a pregnant woman …

The lifeguard told me the state pool could only accommodate 150 folks, what with the number of lifeguards the pool had.

I said: WHAT? You mean, if no one leaves now, then none of these folks can come in to swim?

She said: That’s right. The number of life guards on duty means that only 150 folks can swim in the pool at one time. She said sometimes people wait for 2 or so hours to come in for a dip or swim.

I felt horrible. First, the city and state pools open noon and 1 p.m. – even during heat waves. Then, when city folks come by, they have to wait and cook in the hot sun for hours before they can enter the pool area. They have to stay OUTSIDE the pool area – it’s the law.

We will not begin to decry the sad state of pool affairs in Woo – how inner-city folks took it in the chin when the city shut down the city’s swimming pools three or so years ago. Only one – the new Crompton Park pool – is open these days. City officials claim that with the Wheels to Water program, and Woo’s two state pools and city beaches that city folks have plenty of aquatic options. Doesn’t look that way. We have a city of more than 180,000 people – many of them poor, without lots of resources. Heat waves can be tough for poorer folks without air conditioners or cars. They NEED our city pools for fun and RELIEF. They NEED to be able to WALK to their neighborhood swimming pools! When I was a little kid growing up in Green Island, my mom didn’t have a car,  so every summer day, late in the afternoon, my sisters and I WALKED to the Crompton Park pool. An easy 10 minute walk. And when we got there? Heaven! Cool, cool water! Kids from my school – Lamartine Street School – doing cannon balls and raising hell. So much fun!

The support the City of Worcester used to give to its immigrant or first generation American families has evaporated. City pools, free music lessons, free swimming lessons at the Girls Club via our public schools, Summer’s World, art and exercise in our public schools … . all cut or cut back, leaving nice families, good kids and their parents cooking in a summer heat wave.

Believe me, the people I talked with outside the pool area during that brutal heat wave were the nicest – too nice! They waited patiently, chatted, joked around. They were so happy to be waiting in LINE to swim!


But it was so humid,  even I  – Rosalie T. – had lost some of my Green Island grit and Mediterranean temper! I took my swimsuit photos and told them all I would be back …

Watching Mayor Joe O’Brien betray Save Our Poolz …

By Rosalie Tirella

this past Worcester City Council meeting made me think: this guy isn’t gonna give anything to “the people.” His campaign was just a lot of hot air.

Case in point: O’Brien FINALLY got out of his mayoral chair, took the mic and talked on an issue: the city manager and DPW head Bob Moylan were giving councilors an update on the work that will be done at the new Crompton Park pool. Mayor Joe O’Brien got up and pretty much rubberstamped what the city administration did/said all along. In a very quiet tone of voice O’Brien said: we will, as money permits, try to open more city pools. Then, as if to throw a bone to the Save Our Poolz folks, he said the Wheels to Water program will be broadened, hopefully with more jobs for folks.

Nice back-pedalling, O’Brien! Continue reading Watching Mayor Joe O’Brien betray Save Our Poolz …

Summer days in private pools for Worcester’s neighborhood youth

By Christina Lenis

Smiling faces awaiting summer fun radiate from behind the green nylon seats of a yellow school bus. Outside, staff members wearing light blue t-shirts with the Wheels to Water logo on the front, hold clips boards, marking off names and checking for bright blue wristbands as children continue to board.

The bus engine starts to rumble. The excitement of children on summer vacation can be heard throughout.

The chatter soon seizes as the rules of the day are read by one of five staff members. The rumbling of the engine intensifies and the bus departs.

Unfamiliar streets aligned with three deckers pass by on either side of the bus. Suddenly, the wheels hit the freshly paved parking lot, as the bus glides to the entrance of the multi-million dollar Boys and Girls Club on Main St. The chattering intensifies, as the children quickly exit the bus, happy to have arrived. Continue reading Summer days in private pools for Worcester’s neighborhood youth

City Clerk David Rushford: The Marrying Man?

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s see: the city is cash strapped, the state is cash strapped (until the new MA state sales tax kicks in!) and the country is searching for the bootstraps it needs to pull itself out of this financial hell hole. What better time for Worcester City Clerk David Rushford to add as much as $95,000 to his base salary of $131,000!

Meet David Rushford – Worcester’s Marrying Man. This Sunday we learned that Rushford, who is already closing the Worcester City Clerk’s office a couple of hours earlier than 5 p.m (creating banking hours for himself and his staff while still collecting the same pay check) has been making some serious side money ON CITY TIME and CITY PROPERTY marrying people.  He won’t say how much he charges, but thanks to yet another whacky Massachusetts law, Rushford, or any city/town clerk in Massachusetts can charge $50 – $95 every time he/she officially marries a couple.

You would think that the fee would go to the city or town. After all, the momentous event is happening in a city or town hall. It is being performed by a city/town clerk who is working at his city/town job in a city/town hall (thus collecting his/her city/town pay check). You would think with all the whining David Rushford has done about losing a few city clerks and not being able to perform all his work with the staff he’s got, that he would be tickled pink if marrying people meant more moeny for the City of Worcester. Maybe then City Manager Mike O’Brien could rehire some of Rushford’s city clerks he laid off earlier. 

Nope. The dough goes to the city/town clerk doing the marrying.

Last year, Rushford married 950 couples. Do the math: 950  x $100 = $95,000!



Here’s hoping city councilors do something productive during their two summer meetings. Let’s have them petition the state to rescind the law or at least pass some local ordinance that allows the City of Worcester to collect – and KEEP – the fee.

$95,000 could go to Worcester’s parks, city pools – city kids. It could go towards public health, AIDS awareness.

It amazes me to see how Blow Mag and many city pols just seem to enable/excuse this bad behavior. Why? Because they know Rushford. Because they are all in the same boys club, standing in the same swill.


Are there no city pools this summer in Worcester?

By Pablo Soto

My name is Pablo Soto. I am 15 years old and I live on Hope Avenue. But I was raised in the Green Island neighborhood. I attend Fanning Learning Center but my home school is South High, which I will be attending next fall. When I was younger, I never really worried about there not being pools in the summer. All I hear from the younger kids when I’m at Crompton Park is “I heard there’s going to be no pools this summer?” To be honest, I personally do not use the public pools for personal reasons but when I was younger I went every day in the summer. I remember waking up on hot, sticky, humid summer mornings feeling like I was going to explode from the heat.

I feel horrible that the kids in the neighborhood that I grew up in are not going to have a pool to go swimming in the summer. I learned how to swim in Crompton and Vernon pool, mostly Crompton because Vernon was always packed. So I walked down to Crompton. Now children are not going to be able to learn how to swim in their own neighborhood. Pools are something everybody looks forward to in the summer. Maybe the rich families that own their own pools don’t really look forward to them, but the less fortunate do.

Without the pools, kids are most likely to get into a lot of trouble because of the lack of activites to do. I understand that Vernon is going to be rebuilt but it’s going to be the only pool for like three districts, meaning the Vernon is going to be packed. The pools that are planned to be closed down are located in the poorest neighborhoods in the city. People in these communities need these resources in their communities for many reasons. Youth entertain themselves being at the pool, it’s were a lot of first time experiences can happen. It’s another way from staying away from unsafe activities, such as fights, gang violence, drugs etc. Having lifeguards isn’t the issue because I know many youths willing to work as a lifeguard for the pools.

When people think of summertime in the Worcester neighborhoods, the first thing to come to mind is the pools. When I grow up and I have my children I would like them to experience what I did with the pools. I think it’s wrong to end the tradition of the pools now and put in spray parks. Spray parks seem more unsafe and less satisfactory. Spray parks are going to be slippery, unsafe and unsupervised, which is a set up for destruction.

And don’t forget … Pondering the pools

By Rosalie Tirella

My Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray patronage post (see “Hush! Hush!” post below) is missing the following important factoid: the Republican fundraiser who raised thousands of dollars for Murray – and whom Murray had to dump after grousings from the gov, his boss, and after a critical Boston Globe story – was “rewarded” by Murray, after he gave Murray the big bundle of bucks. Murray appointed the guy – a nursing home developer type  – to a board somewhere (I think) in Brockton. Murray gave the guy the position as (and let’s not be coy) as a reward because it was a position that would have enabled Murray’s fundraiser pal to do good by his biz interests. Talk about quid pro quo! Which, of course, doesn’t get talked about in Worcester, when it comes to Murray or any of our politicians, really. Which is why we get the shenanigans of a Bob Spellane (see post below).

And how coincidental is this? The $100,000 + UMass Medical School job that Murray got for his best pal Leary – after a few phone calls, no doubt – is a NEWLY CREATED JOB at UMass (just for Leary??) and IT PAYS the exact same salary  Leary is now making as Murray’s #1 aide in the State House.

The pools

What a tragedy! After all the neighborhood meetings, after all the heart-wrenching testimonials from neighborhood folks, after all the PROMISES from city officials, City Manager Mike O’Brien, with the blessings of the City Council, has closed our nine city pools for the summer. Most of the pools will most likely never have a kid cannonball into them again. How tragic!

Last year, they were fine – 8 of the 9 were opened to the public. The public being lots of minority, poor inner-city folks with not a lot of money/options for summer fun. This year, according to city officials, the pools are lethal! With killer drains, according to DPW and Parks head Robert Moylan! Killer drains that could reach up and grab a flutter-kicking leg and … Gak! It’s the attack of the Killer Drain!! Call the Ghost Busters! Or the Worcester Police Department!

Stop demonizing the drains! Fix them! And with the $200,000 set aside so far for private, non-progfit pool openings in the city, O’Brien could do just that. We do not warm to O’Brien’s contingency plan for summer 2009. Lots of the nonprofits that have offered help have just (so far) opted to expand pool hours for their members (or kids who want to join their organizations). The Boys Club, Girls Inc, YWCA, Main South YMCA have not – so far – opened their pools up to non-member inner-city kids. They must do this if they want to help …

But even if they do step up to the plate, we fear kids will not: take the city sponsored buses to the sites, have enough time to really have fun before they are pushed out to make room for Syncromaid practice or family “dip” for Y members. Our kids will just be squeezed in and made to feel second best. 

So let’s take the money that O’Brien has set aside for lifeguards, buses, support staff, etc at the nonprofit pools and call on a few fantastic blue collar guys (contractors/plumbers) to fix/spackle three or four of the city pools. The rest of the money can be used to hire lifeguards, etc.

What we think happened was this: O’Brien and Moylan (even while they were hearing the pleas/testimonials from inner-city kids!) were planning to close all the city pools – many in poor neighborhoods. Which is why they didn’t even begin to hire/train life guards, hire support staff, etc this year.  And of course they could cover their butts with: “We’re in a national, state and city recession! We have no money! We are laying city workers off left and right! Pools are an extravagance at this time!”

Bull shit. Their city-leased SUV’s are an extravagance! (and the dozen or so big wig in City Hall who have them, complete with free gas, don’t want to geive them up!) Worcester cops making more than $150,000 a year are an extravagance! (just regular ol’ patrol men/women!) Neither cops nor fire dept will join the real world and pay 25% of their helath insurance premiums. This is where the city budget fat is. This is where we could get the money to fix and open ALL OUR CITY POOLS!

Let’s be real – honest.