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Boston - Swim Park Project

Boston - Swim Park Project

The Charles River in Boston might be the cleanest urban river in America by now. And on most days of the summer it is clean enough to swim in. What misses is a place to get in which might be solved with the "Swim Park Project". In order to engage support for this project, the Charles River Conservancy holds an annual community swim event, the "City Splash", in the river.

The Charles River was commonly used for swimming until the 1950’s when beaches were shut down due to a new awareness of health risks following years of industrial activity along the river. The polluted Charles River earned its reputation as “that dirty water.”

In 2007, the Charles River opened for its first public swim in 50 years, as a section cordoned off by buoys and manned by lifeguards was opened for two hours. Once given a D rating by the Environmental Protection Agency (as recent as 1995), environmentalists halted the flow of sewage into the Charles by 99,5%, and its rating has improved to a solid B, thanks to groups like the Charles River Conservancy and the Charles River Swimming Club.

Moreover, since 2013 the Charles River Conservancy hosts the so called „City Splash“ - an annual chance to spend a part of the afternoon swimming in the Charles. City Splash gives locals a taste for what could come in the future with the Swim Park Project, an initiative put forth by the conservancy to build a permanent swimming facility in the Charles River at North Point Park. According to a recent study by Stantec, an engineering services company, this sort of complex is feasible with “further study and due diligence,” according to a statement.

Nonetheless, the conservancy acknowledges that, like public beaches, the Charles is unlikely to meet health standards every day of the summer. On days when the water quality is poor, the swim park would be closed.

More information on the Swim Park Project can be found here.