Community Board To Weigh 'Y' Delay
The community board is likely to ask the developers of the YMCA at Arverne By The Sea to hold off seeking final approval so that additional funds can be raised to expand one of the proposed facility's pools, The Wave has learned.
Board members are said to want a 60- day stay so that they can solicit the Mayor's Office and Federal elected officials for an estimated $2 million to $3 million to add two lanes to the proposed four-lane lap pool, according to District Manager Jonathan Gaska. That could pose a major problem for the developers, who could see the project cost - which has already ballooned to an estimated $13 million - continue to rise while their tentative construction schedule is thrown off course.
The issue is expected to come up at the September meeting of Community Board 14, where members of the public will be able to speak on the subject.
Plans for the proposed two-story, 32,000 square-foot Y, were first made public last month. They show a 25-yard-long, 30-foot-wide, four-lane lap pool that has a depth range from about 3 to 9 feet. It shares an 8,755 square-foot area with an irregularly shaped aquatic center, which has a zero-entry (extreme shallow end) and gradually reaches a 4-foot depth. That pool will have a spray shower and slide.
While several board members said they were pleased with the Y's design and amenities, other board members and several community members say the lap pool must be larger. And, they say, it will be cheaper to build a bigger pool from the get-go than to expand one that proves to be too small.
The Y's developers, the YMCAof Greater New York and Benjamin/Beechwood, the developers of Arverne By The Sea, strongly support their design and don't have to follow Community Board 14's recommendations. At the meeting last month, they appeared intent on getting approval for their plans, starting construction by year's end and having the Y open by the second quarter of 2009. "I think we would rather proceed," said Gerard "Gerry" Romski, of Arverne By The Sea, when The Wave asked him this week about the potential issue. "I'll deal with it when it happens," he said. "It certainly would delay things."
A representative for the YMCA of Greater New York was not immediately available for comment.
Gaska said the board is likely to vote on whether to ask for the 60-day stay after CB14's Housing and Urban Renewal Committee gives its update on the Y at the board's September 10 meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 333 Beach 90 Street. The Budget and Youth Services and Education Committees are also slated to give updates. The meeting starts at 7:45 p.m.