New Racquet Facility Replaces Pool Parking Lot

One of the last free parking lots in the city of Cambridge has temporarily disappeared.

Blodgett Pool's parking lot closed yesterday so construction on a new racquet facility in front of the current building can begin, according to sports officials.

Once the building is constructed, new areas in the Soldiers' Field ground will be paved to compensate for the loss of spots, said John P. Veneziano, director of sports information.

For most swimmers, this means parking in another lot, such as the Harvard Business School parking lot, which costs $5 a day for visitors.

"We are doing our best to make accommodations for interns and coaches," Veneziano said, referring to a few spaces on the side of the lot that have not yet been blocked off.


In addition, a limited amount of space in a nearby lot is being set aside for swimmers. Many swimmers say they are upset by the situation for a number of reasons.

Miriam H. Berlin, a teacher at the Extension School, said the added parking cost will disrupt "a core of people for whom [the pool] has become a real community."

The pool is used by the extended Harvard community, including faculty, staff, students and families.

This new added cost attached to swimming could have an especially deep effect on elderly people who are on limited budgets, said Anne F. Bernays, wife of a former faculty member.

"I would like to sit down with whichever department is responsible for this decision and explore some alternatives," Bernays said.

Swimmers also complained of a lack of warning about the change, since informational signs were posted only last week.

In addition, many swimmers said they were unaware that the parking department has made some parking spaces are available close to Blodgett Pool.