Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jay Livingstone have filed a bill authorizing the long-term lease of the long-neglected, former Lee Pool Complex on the Charles River Esplanade.
The legislation would allow the designated lessee to enter into a 30-year agreement (with options for up to two 10-year extensions) with the Esplanade Association, the nonprofit that manages the park in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“Representative Livingstone and I filed this legislation to help secure the future of the Lee Pool— a vital complex for both our shared West End community and the entire city as a whole,” Sen. DiDomenico said in a statement. “The Esplanade has long been a bright spot for the city of Boston and the Lee Pool was once an important place of gathering for families. We hope that this partnership between DCR and the Esplanade Association will ensure that these facilities can once again be used by our community, and ultimately be upgraded and well-maintained for the use of our residents and community groups alike in the decades to come. It has been a pleasure working with the Esplanade Association on this project and legislation. I’m confident in their commitment to creating an exciting and welcoming space for all.”
The bill allows the lessee to design, build and operate one or more facilities on the site, including opportunities for a new maintenance and operations center with public bathrooms; a programmable indoor/outdoor roofdeck and event space; and a café. Any river-edge pedestrian pathway reconnections or improvements that the lessee makes as part of the project would be maintained by DCR as part of the agreement.
“I look forward to realizing the return of Lee Pool to active, public use,” Rep. Livingstone wrote. “The bill is an important step in that process. I’m pleased with the outpouring of support from community organizations supporting this project.”
Lee Pool, which sits south of the State Police barracks on the river’s Lower Basin, opened in 1951, and has been closed to the public since the ‘90s.