Residents Brainstorm Ideas For Future Of McCarren Park Pool
June 14, 2007
The pool at McCarren Park has been deteriorating since the 1970s, but Wednesday night the public got a chance to help decide what will become of the space. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
The McCarren Park pool has been fenced off for decades, causing weeds to grow out of the pavement and a water fountain to become rusty.
But it will soon be brought back to life for the residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, after the city allocated $50 million as part of its new budget deal.
“It’s really like a miracle,” said Phyllis Yampolsky of the McCarren Park Conservancy. “Nobody expected this, [it’s] really like a miracle.”
Wednesday night, the Parks Department and the local community board held a brainstorming session, which allowed the public to weigh in on how to spend the money.
Residents were broken up into teams to come up with ideas on what they’d like to see as part of the renovation.
Designs for the McCarren pool site have to include three things: swimming, year-round use, and preservation and re-use of the existing buildings, like the archway and the bathhouses. Dozens of ideas were thrown around: performance spaces, rock climbing walls, diving pools and water flumes.
“It’s a park that we all use and would love to see be used year round, in terms of having a pool, having an ice skating rink, having things for the teenagers,” said resident Robin Hagert.
“I’m excited about the renovation of this wonderful city space for all generations,” said Mike Palms, another local resident.
McCarren pool was built in 1936 during the Great Depression, as one of a series of ten pools opened throughout the city. Then, during the fiscal crisis in the 70s, it fell into disrepair.
The pool was shut down in 1983 to be fixed but the repairs never happened.
“I was born and raised in the neighborhood,” said Community Board 1 District Manager Gerald Esposito. “It’s where I learned to swim. It’s a great facility. It was there for all of North Brooklyn. It was a regional pool. And it’s missed greatly by the people of the community.”
McCarren Park is the epicenter of the neighborhood and efforts to revitalize other areas of the park are already taking place. Across the street from the pool site, a track and astroturf field were added last year. There are also plans to build a skate park.
Over the last several years, the pool has had an interim use as a summer concert venue. But the Parks Department says it has an aggressive timetable to get the space up and running year round.
“I’d like to get the first shovel in the ground in the Spring of ’09,” said Juliis Spiegel, the Brooklyn commissioner of the Parks Department.
Preliminary designs are expected to be ready by the end of the year.
i love swimming!