Fishtown’s Swimmo and rec center are getting a big renovation

The popular River Wards pool was shut down because it was leaking into the library.

A sign posted at Fishtown Recreation Center advises neighbors of the forthcoming improvements

A sign posted at Fishtown Recreation Center advises neighbors of the forthcoming improvements

Michaela Winberg / Billy Penn
michaelawinberg-2020-2

Attention Fishtowners: the Swimmo is finally on its way back.

Three years after the much-beloved River Wards pool was first shut down, the city has found a way to pay for renovations necessary to open it up again.

Officials are announcing on Monday afternoon that Fishtown Rec will be the latest site to get attention via Rebuild, the Kenney administration’s soda tax-funded effort to refresh Philly parks, libraries and rec centers.

A projected completion date for the public pool, which is located on Montgomery Avenue near Moyer, hasn’t yet been released. But it’s not the only playspace getting a facelift.

fishtown-swimmo

The Swimmo

Google Street View

That Rebuild funding will also score various other amenities at the refreshed outdoor recreation area:

  • Renovations to the hockey rink
  • New swings
  • More shaded seating
  • New basketball court
  • Multipurpose jogging and walking track
  • New climber with slides
  • Toddler playground
  • Sprayground
  • A ‘community common’

Per signage posted at the rec center, everything except the pool should be ready to go by late July. Neighbors should expect some sporadic closures throughout the summer for construction.

The city's posted construction schedule for Fishtown Rec renovations

The city's posted construction schedule for Fishtown Rec renovations

Michaela Winberg / Billy Penn

It’s a long time coming for Fishtown neighbors, who’ve been wondering about the status of their local watering hole for years.

The Department of Parks and Recreation announced in 2017 that the pool — officially called Lederer Pool — wouldn’t open that season due to necessary construction. Affectionately dubbed the Swimmo by residents, the popular swim spot had started leaking into the basement of the neighboring Fishtown Library a couple of years prior, and the damage was threatening to become extensive.

The summers of 2017 and 2018 came and went without a neighborhood pool — and without any construction starting. It bred confusion in the neighborhood, as Fishtown residents said they hadn’t heard any information from city officials.

“Without really open dialogue with the neighbors about what’s going on,” Fishtown resident Oren Eisenberg told Billy Penn last summer, “there’s just going to be more rumors that breed and more discontent among taxpayers.”

A handful of whispered explanations percolated around the neighborhood — that the pool’s construction was on hold, that there wasn’t enough money to fix it, that it was sold to build condos. But with this announcement, it appears those were just rumors.

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