As a representative of the Krusty the Clown’s Cayman Islands Offshore Holding Corporation once said, “Ah, it’s too hot today.” A fine day for a swim, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately, if you’re a resident of Philadelphia, swimming pools are a little hard to come by this summer, which is to say all the City pools are closed thanks to COVID. In Fishtown, it’s effectively been COVID season for years in a manner of speaking, as the Lederer Swimming Pool at 1219 E. Montgomery Ave. has been closed to the public since 2017. This pool, most commonly known as the Swimmo, was shuttered because it was causing leaks in the basement of the nearby Fishtown Library.
For a couple years, it seems the neighborhood was in the dark about what would happen to the pool and when it would get fixed. Finally, in 2019, Billy Penn reported that the City would be repairing and renovating the pool, paying for the project through the soda-tax funded Rebuild program. That article didn’t indicate a clear timeline for the construction to begin, but we suspect the neighbors were hoping that the pool would be finished and opened by this summer. Instead, demolition has only just begun.
BKP Architects was retained to do the design work for the project, and their rendering shows a utilitarian swimming pool and a new awning next to it. As was the case with the recently demolished pool, we imagine the new pool will pick up some public art to add some color to the site. We especially appreciate the awning, which will add a welcome shade element to the pool and provide some respite from hot summer sun for swimmers and staff alike.
In an alternate reality, we could see Fishtowners really frustrated by the fact that the Swimmo renovation only started now and isn’t complete yet. But given that it couldn’t have opened this summer anyway, it might have been even more aggravating for people to walk past a shiny new pool that they couldn’t use. Here’s to hoping that by the time the summer of 2021 rolls around, we’ll have the pandemic under control to the point that Fishtown will get its community pool back, as will every other neighborhood around town.