Starting Monday, residents of other communities will need to be accompanied by an adult Cranston resident when using the Budlong Pool.
The policy change comes following concerns about overcrowding and a recent incident involving a group of young people that resulted in several arrests, according to Mayor Allan Fung.
“We had a really bad incident with a lot of juveniles, many of whom were from out of the city, that were coming in the pool, being disruptive, unruly, not listening to staff,” Fung said during a press conference at the pool on Tuesday. “[It] ended up with a melee and a fight, where Cranston Police had to respond … the lack of respect shown to not only my staff, to [Parks and Recreation Director Tony Liberatore], calling him – someone who’s been with the city, caring about our kids for 13 years – an ‘Old MF,’ [is] totally inappropriate.”
He added: “They were just acting, and being punks. And that’s not the kind of family environment I want here at the Budlong Pool … It’s a privilege to be part of this family here in Cranston and use our facilities like the Budlong Pool.”
The policy change going into effect July 8 – which the Parks and Recreation Department announced on Facebook Monday – will require out-of-town visitors to the pool to be accompanied by a Cranston resident age 18 or older. Cranston residents are being advised that proof of residency will be required.
A resident day pass for the pool costs $3 per person. Resident season passes cost $25 and seasonal resident family passes cost $50. Nonresident day passes cost $10.
On Tuesday, Cranston Police Maj. Todd Patalano said five people – four juveniles and one 18-year-old – were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after officers responded to a report of a disturbance at the pool on the afternoon of June 28.
Patalano said 15 to 20 individuals, all between the ages of 13 and 18, were involved in the incident. They were gathered in a “specific area of the pool” and were “acting unruly and not conforming to the lifeguards’ orders,” he said. The incident had escalated into a fight by the time officers arrived, he said.
Nobody was injured during the disturbance, Patalano said. Those involved were from Cranston, Providence and Pawtucket.
The major added that the department has “never had anything of this magnitude” at the pool.
“The pool is completely safe. We have a police officer there daily, and with the new policy revision, it should certainly leave that as a fun venue for the families of the city of Cranston,” he said. “There is absolutely no problem there and it is a safe environment.”
During Tuesday’s press conference, Fung said staff at the pool will be equipped to implement the new policy. He also defended the change when asked what he would say to out-of-city families who visit the pool without creating issues.
“Providence has their own pools. If they want to be disrespectful, they can use the pools in Providence … It’s shameful that those individuals, those 20-plus individuals, ruined it for the vast majority of people who want to come here and have fun in a great pool in a family setting,” he said.
He added: “I remember this pool when I was a kid … I want to make sure that anyone who uses the pool can have those same experiences that I had when I was a kid and remember the joyful times for years to come, not having kids who are disrespectful from out of city causing fights.”