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Board Approves Garden City Community Pool Rehab Project

Completion of Site Improvements Estimated for 2012 Summer Season

It’s the spot that many residents look forward to visiting every summer — the Garden City Community Pool. Swimmers can rejoice knowing the village attraction will receive several much-needed improvements beginning this fall, after the board’s recent approval of a bond resolution to fund Phase 1 of the project at a cost of $2,250,000.

Prior to approving the bond resolution, Nicole Russo, a member of the Board of Commissioners of Cultural and Recreational Affairs Pool Redevelopment Sub-Committee, pool patron and village resident for 20 years, vocalized her support for the rehabilitation to the village board at the May 5th meeting.

In order to better understand what residents needed in the rehabilitation, the sub-committee was formed and workshops were held for residents to participate in. Russo informed the board that the committee has had many in-depth discussions about the balance between what is desired, what is needed and what is financially possible.

“I believe that Phase 1 of the pool redesign project, which includes renovation of the main pool gutter system and increase of deck space around the adult pool and installation of the water play pool would not only be appreciated by the residents, but also a needed infrastructure upgrade to the 55-year-old facility. These new upgrades will enhance the residents’ experience of the pool and ultimately attract more patrons and increase our membership,” Russo said.

During a discussion prior to the vote, Trustee Nicholas Episcopia thanked the people who worked hard on the subcommittee and expressed his concern about the cost of the project. “The problem that I have with this is as it stands now, we are $200,000 short of the projected debt service on this. That means I believe we had to raise the fees approximately $80 or $90 per family. The statistics show us that families with children below 9 or 10 years old, we already have them at the pool. We would like to do this to attract more people; we also do not want to lose any people because of an increase in costs,” he said.  

Episcopia clarified that he was not against the project but advocated that the board defer the vote and hold a work session to discuss the capital improvements further.

Trustee Dennis Donnelly also toured the facility and explained Phase 1 of the project is broken down into a number of different items. He noted that the bulk of the work is planned for the redesign of the kiddie pool and interactive area. “Since that is one of the most used areas of the pool, it seems to me that the improvements that we are doing are for the people who use it the most, which seems only fitting. The rest of the work is not work only in that it is a replacement of existing systems, drainage systems and some of the cement work, which has to be done.

“So looking at the totality of the project and realizing that it can be accomplished with, I realize with a raise in rates with $80 or $90 a season, which is a lot under the current ticket, it is also a good value for the summer. I don’t believe you can join a pool club any cheaper than you can join a village club. So I am in favor of this project, ” Donnelly said.

Trustee Brian Daughney, who said he was also in favor of the project, maintained that the board does not have the opportunity to defer the vote because of time constraints associated with the construction. “This work has to be done, scheduled, bid, bonded and done starting early September for this to really work,” he said. “I understand the costs involved, but for me, I think this is completely necessary,” Daughney added.  

The board voted against deferring the vote and subsequently, voted in favor of the bond resolution to fund the project.

In November 2010, the Village of Garden City awarded a contract to deBruin Engineering, PC and RGR Landscape Architecture to prepare a redevelopment proposal for a portion of the Garden City Community Pool. According to the conceptional design report, the contract identified the existing wading pool and spray park as areas of the complex in need of redevelopment, and solicited the consultants’ creative input for addressing the reminder of the complex.

Originally constructed in the 1960s, the Garden City Community Park Pool Complex covers about 4.3 acres, exclusive of parking areas. Prior renovations included removal of the diving hopper from the main swimming pool and the addition of a water slide. The adult pool was also renovated in 2003, according to the report.

The complex is entered from the parking lot to the east through a covered circulation space that ties together the locker rooms, offices and pools. The complex is comprised of three pool areas: a children’s area with wading pool and spray park; a family swimming pool for recreation, swim lessons and a water slide; and an adult pool used for competitive swimming and adult use. There is also 1-acre lawn to the west of the pools that contains three playground elements. To the north of the pools is a 12-foot-wide maintenance driveway and, additionally, an upper park containing a snack bar, eating patio, game room and another 0.7 acres of lawn. In this lawn area there is a stand-alone ice cream vending booth, a movie screen and a gazebo.

There are two phases of construction for the conception of the plan. Phase 1 includes redeveloping the children’s area where the existing wading pool, spray area and playground equipment is with a focus on an interactive water play area; and break the barrier between the pool level and the upper level of the park that is now created by the maintenance driveway. It also includes making improvements to the main swimming pool including a rehabilitation of the pool slide and replacement of the pool coping stones. In addition to improve the deck space around the adult pool by the elimination of the raised deck on the south side and improving shade conditions.

The report describes that Phase 2 of construction will focus on consolidating the locker rooms, office spaces and a snack bar into a single clubhouse building located roughly where the locker rooms are now; redevelop the circulation space that connects the adult pool, swimming pool and children’s play area; redevelop the deck space on the north end of the adult pool to provide better functionality and comfort; and redevelop the upper park to allow for more activity for kids and teenagers.

The entire scope of the improvements depicted in the report are “expected to cost on the order of $10 million. The poor condition of the existing wading pool and spray area, as well as the slide and swimming pool gutter, provides impetus to start work as early as possible so that those changes can be completed for the 2012 season. Designing and building a new club house that is sensitive to the input of the community cannot be completed in that time frame, so it is logical to phase the project,” according to the report. It also stated that the “estimated cost for Phase 1 is $2.1 million and the estimated cost for Phase 2 is $7 to $9 million.”

To review or download a copy of the report, visit the village website at www.gardencityny.net under the heading of public notices.