JP needs an outdoor pool

On July 29, a woman drowned in Jamaica Pond when she tried to escape the heat and cool down [JP Gazette, August 10]. The death of this woman could have been avoided.

Because Jamaica Plain does not have a public outdoor swimming pool of its own, it is very tempting to jump into the pond on a hot summer day. Jamaica Plain does have two indoor pools run by the city, and a few Boston neighborhoods have outdoor pools run by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). However, over the past few years, state funding for repairing, maintaining and building new pools in the city has been inadequate. Many pools have deteriorated, and some pools in other towns have been closed for years.

One result is that not enough young people are learning how to swim. As a 17-year-old who has grown up in JP, I was fortunate enough to learn to swim on my own, but I still have friends who do not know how.

Last year, with the help of private donations, the DCR-run Melnea Cass pool in Roxbury was fully restored and is now open. Perhaps a cooperative effort by the state, city and private donors could build a new pool in Jamaica Plain.

With new and renovated pools in Boston, people would be able to cool off during the summertime in safe places. These new pools would provide jobs for lifeguards and instructors who would give more people the opportunity to learn to swim. More pools would address other needs as well, such as reducing obesity through exercise and giving kids something productive to do in the summer.

Jimmy Mathews

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