The state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has finalized a $2.2 million contract to make improvements to the popular wading pool feature at Mattapan’s Ryan Playground and construction began this week at the River Street site.
The project follows tense discussions last year after DCR originally proposed eliminating the amenity— and then reversed course amid pushback from parents, elected officials, and neighbors. The plan now includes doubling the size of the current pool, as well as other improvements – benches, new spray features, shade stations, and a rinsing station. The upgraded pool will be modeled after the Artesani Wading Pool in Brighton, DCR officials said.
“As the climate crisis drives up the summer heat, access to pools is more critical than ever, especially for families in environmental justice communities like Mattapan,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “The construction of the new Ryan Wading Pool is a more-than-$2 million investment that would not have been possible without the neighborhood’s passion and Rep. Fluker Oakley’s advocacy.”
Fluker Oakley created a community task force to lead the design of the facility with DCR. “From talks of a potential closure to this new reconstruction, I am thankful for the community members who shared their input to ensure this project became a reality,” she said. “I have fond memories of spending time at the wading pool as a child, and I am so glad to hear that generations of young people to come will be able to enjoy the pool as well.”
The new facility is expected to open July 1, 2024.