2007-09-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Everybody Wants A Pool,But Which Pool Will It Be?

Rockaway residents are known to be contentious, even when they are getting an amenity they have been dreaming of for years. So it is with the proposed swimming pool at the YMCA to be developed by Arverne By The Sea. The developers have planned a lap pool or four lanes and an aquatic center for the new facility. That is probably more than they are mandated to build by their agreement with the city for the Arverne site. Go back to the beginning and you will find that the promise was for a "community center," nothing more specific. When the pool was originally planned as a six-foot deep lap pool of four lanes, the city asked the ABTS people to make the depth nine feet to allow for lifeguard training. Although it altered the plans and added to the cost, ABTS officials readily agreed to the changes. Now, however, several residents have loudly demanded that the pool be redesigned to allow for at least two more lanes. They have asked the community board to request that the city put a halt to the process until somebody - either the city or private sources - can come up with the extra million or so necessary to expand the pool. We don't agree. Rockaway has been waiting for both the community center and the pool for far too long. We can finally see the end of the tunnel, even though it is two years away. To put a halt to the process, to force ABTS to reconfigure the entire building, to wait for promised funds, to redo the architectural work and the site testing necessary for any major building in Rockaway is to risk losing all that we have been promised to time and attrition. We are normally fine-tuned to the needs of the community and would not think of saying that the community board should ignore the residents of Rockaway, but in this case, we think that the community board, which is only advisory in this matter in any case, should allow the project to move ahead. There is too much at stake to risk losing everything over two lanes in a pool.

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