If you were hoping to strip down to your swimsuit and jump from the dock along the Esplanade into the Charles River at the annual “City Splash” event, you’ll have to wait until next year.
For the first time in five years, the Charles River Conservancy said it won’t be hosting its annual swim for eager city dwellers trying to cool off. The nonprofit announced the cancellation in a newsletter sent out Thursday morning.
“We have decided to put City Splash on hiatus for 2018,” the organization said. “We recognize this will be disappointing news to many, and we appreciate your support over the years. We are looking for other engagement opportunities this year, and will be in touch as those develop.”
Last year, around 300 people attended the event.
The conservancy says there’s a good reason it decided not to put on the annual event, however: Organizers are instead focusing their efforts on bringing a permanent, seasonal swimming location to the once-dirty water, because one day of Charles River swimming a year “is not enough.”
In 2016, the conservancy announced its grand vision to develop a place along the Charles River where runners could stop mid-jog and plunge in, or people could swim laps.
The idea was detailed in a feasibility study crafted in partnership with the engineering firm Stantec. The proposed project calls for the construction of a floating dock near North Point Park, lined with plantings along the perimeter. It would be located within eyeshot of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge.
In hitting the pause button on this year’s “City Splash” event, the group is making the proposed project “the priority.”
“We are working with an engineer on the design and are engaging stakeholders on the operations, programming, and implementation in order to bring the design to completion,” according to a statement from conservancy officials.
In addition to a 74-page report about the proposed swimming hole, the conservancy raised $125,000 through a fund-raising campaign to cover the cost of the “critical next steps in the process.”
The news of the cancellation comes days after the Environmental Protection Agency gave the Charles River a winning grade for cleanliness. On June 1, the EPA announced that the span of water that divides Boston and Cambridge received an A-minus for bacterial water quality during 2017. It’s only the second time the river has earned such a high grade in the past 23 years, the agency said.
“This is tremendous news and marks a dramatic improvement since its 1995 grade of D,” according to conservancy officials. “Great progress has been made, but we need to continue to support efforts that will maintain and improve the river against continuing challenges.”Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.