The Town of North Hempstead removed the controversial water slide from its plan to renovate the Clinton G. Martin Park pool, but several New Hyde Park residents say that could be a big mistake.
“Our kids deserve better,” Joshua Printz, a resident, said Tuesday during a meeting at the park. “It’s great you’re doing the kiddie pool, you can give the little kids something fun to do. But the older kids, they’re not going to have anything.”
The town presented its revised $13.6 million plan Tuesday after a survey showed most residents want to revamp the 54-year-old pool without many “bells and whistles,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.
Some 57 percent of survey respondents did not want the water slide, estimated to cost between $115,000 and $125,000. Older residents in May said it would take up too much space and disrupt their use of the pool.
In response to resident feedback, the town cut $1.4 million from its original $15 million proposal by using cheaper materials and scaling back renovations to the main entrance in addition to removing the water slide, town officials said.
But a pool without a slide would not attract New Hyde Park’s many pre-teens and young families, meaning pool membership will stay low, Printz and other parents said. Memberships currently fund about a third of the Clinton G. Martin Park District’s $1 million budget.
Some questioned the decision to resurface the park’s tennis courts for $566,000 when a majority of survey respondents did not want that either.
“The slide not only attracts people, but it will attract people that bring other children to the pool,” said a resident, John Savage. “The more new people you invite into our pool through the attractiveness of the things for the children, the larger the population of the pool will grow.”
The town plans to install the plumbing for a water slide in case residents decide they want one in the future, Bosworth said.
While an engineer, Jason Pontieri of J.R. Holzmacher Engineering, said the cost of installing the plumbing is “almost insignificant,” some residents opposed doing it.
“You’re taking money out of our pockets for something that we don’t want,” said a resident, Florence DeVito.
The tennis courts suffer from large cracks, and a sinkhole caused one to close, said Jill Weber, the town’s parks and recreation commissioner.
Town officials say the pool is in such dire need of repair that it would need to close permanently without any fixes.
About 65 percent of survey respondents said they support either the full $15 million renovation or fixing only the pumps and other infrastructure for $9 million.
The revised plan moves the kiddie pool further from the edge of the park along New Hyde Park Road but otherwise leaves the pool’s footprint unchanged, Jeremy Linzee of bld architecture said Tuesday.
“You can kind of see us as taking something that’s wonderful and trying to grasp out the great parts of it and make them even better,” Linzee said.
An elevated “upper deck” made of modular concrete pavers and covered with wooden shades would surround the pool area paved with colored concrete, Linzee said, nearly doubling the amount of shaded space.
The two pool buildings would be renovated at a cost of about $3 million, with men’s and women’s locker rooms consolidated in one and a new year-round event space built in the other, Linzee and Pontieri said.
The plan would also boost security to ensure that only Clinton G. Martin Special Park District residents are using it, Linzee said.
The town-operated park district would borrow up to $12.89 million to fund the project and raise property taxes on the district’s 12,877 properties to pay the debt.
Taxes would rise to $98.88 from $38.39 for a $412,400 home, the median property value in the district covering North New Hyde Park, the Village of New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Herricks and Searingtown.
The town plans to finalize designs in February, start construction in June 2017 and finish in June 2018, meaning the pool would be closed for the 2017 summer season, town Public Works Commissioner Paul DiMaria said.
A committee of residents will work with the town to tweak the plans after Tuesday’s meeting and may consider putting the water slide back, said a town spokeswoman, Carole Trottere.
One resident, Mitchell Friedman, said the town should have done more outreach to residents previously if the pool was in such bad shape.
Some residents said they worry that construction could extend into a second pool season and the project could exceed its budget. Susan McClellan said work should have started now, while the pool is closed.
“I don’t care how good you think you’re going to do — you’re going to dig something up and find something that you didn’t anticipate,” said Mike Currie, secretary of the North Lakeville Civic Association.
Construction contracts will penalize the contractor if the project takes longer than a year, DiMaria said. The planning committee will also act as a watchdog to make sure the project meets its budget and timeline, said Marianna Wohlgemuth, a North New Hyde Park civic activist and committee member.