DCR Seeks Public-Private Partnership to Revitalize Lee Pool on Esplanade

More than 15 years after its closure, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is seeking to explore public-private partnerships for the reuse of the deep-water Lee Memorial Pool area on the Charles River Esplanade.

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation has engaged in a number of projects throughout the Charles River Esplanade through public-private partnerships, including the Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields, the Hatch Memorial Shell’s Oval Lawn and the newly constructed Alfond Spray Deck,” wrote DCR spokesman Troy Wall.

Esplanade 2020 – a long-term vision for the state park spearheaded by the Esplanade Association in conjunction with DCR – suggests the revitalization of the 3-acre pool area as a short-term measure to improve accessibility and reclaim parkland on the Esplanade.

“The Lee Pool area is clearly an important site along the Esplanade, indeed along the whole Charles River, with a deep history of serving the broad community as a major recreation area,” wrote Margo Newman, chair of the Esplanade Association’s board of directors. “It is a prime candidate for a public-private partnership.”

Newman added, “The DCR, the owner and legal steward of the site, has repeatedly expressed their commitment to leading the effort to determine the appropriate programming for the area. The Esplanade Association has for several years been strongly encouraging – and anxiously anticipating – an open public process about the future of this valuable and prominent site, but to my knowledge, no formal public process has yet been started.”

            Meanwhile, State Rep. Jay Livingstone said, “Continued use of Lee Pool as a maintenance facility for DRC is incredibly wasteful, and it’s disappointing. I‘m pleased that DCR is exploring options to allow this prime parkland to be returned to public use, something that I’ve advocated for since I was elected and continue to work on.”

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