Fishtown’s Swimmo renovation never began this summer and won’t for a while

Pool season ended without construction starting. There’s no timetable either.

Fencing blocks residents from Swimmo, the Fishtown pool that's been closed two summers in a row.

Fencing blocks residents from Swimmo, the Fishtown pool that's been closed two summers in a row.

Sydney Schaefer / Billy Penn

Public pools closed last week in Philadelphia, meaning residents in most neighborhoods had one final opportunity for a dip. For people in Fishtown, it meant something else: the entire summer passed and construction never began on shuttered Lederer Pool.

The Department of Parks & Recreation announced this spring that Lederer, affectionately known in Fishtown as The Swimmo, would be closed the full season for repairs, to convert the pool from partially above ground to underground. But those renovations haven’t started yet, and there’s no timetable for when they will.

According to Jennifer Crandall, the department’s public relations manager, the project — funded by a capital program from the city — is still in the design and approval process. Translation: It could be a while. When a design idea is completed, Parks & Rec will seek input from residents before formally approving the plan and beginning construction.

“We know that people love their neighborhood rec centers and pools,” Crandall said. “We hope that the community will be understanding with us, as we’re going to give them a brand new beautiful pool with the capital project.”

Sydney Schaefer / Billy Penn

Crandall said The Swimmo could not have remained open while design plans take shape because of needed repairs. The pool is above ground and leaks. In 2015, water from The Swimmo leaked into the nearby Fishtown Library.

This summer, residents were instructed to visit pools like Cione and Hancock in nearby neighborhoods.

“It was quiet,” said Eric Rudy, director of the Fishtown Recreation Center, which is located next to the pool. “It quieted things down.”

Philadelphia has the most public pools per capita of any big city in America. Swimmo was the lone pool to not open this summer. Will it be back for next year? That’s unknown at this point.

“Of course we always hope to open for the season,” Crandall said. “I don’t want to make a promise I can’t keep.”

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