Town OKs $500K more for New Hyde Park pool project

Noah Manskar
An artist's rendering shows a renovated pool at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park. (Image from the Town of North Hempstead)

The Town of North Hempstead now has permission to borrow about $500,000 more for a major renovation at Clinton G. Martin Park.

The Town Board on Tuesday approved an additional $502,481 in bonds to fund extensive upgrades at the North New Hyde Park swimming pool in addition to $12.89 million in borrowing authorized in June. The town will borrow the money through the Clinton G. Martin Park District, which runs the park.

The extra money could cover the cost of installing a water slide that was added to the plan, about $200,000, as well as other construction costs that changed as designs were finalized, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said.

The town only has authorization for the borrowing and will not actually borrow any funds until after it solicits bids in March for the work, now estimated to cost $14.1 million, Trottere said.

“They can’t move forward until they know they have the entire estimated funding,” said Marianna Wohlgemuth, a New Hyde Park civic activist who sits on a planning committee for the park. “They’re hopeful that they don’t need all the money, but they can’t begin the project until they know it’s fully funded.”

The renovation project will resurface the pool deck, expand the kiddie pool, add spray features and shading structures, renovate the locker rooms, resurface the park’s tennis courts and overhaul the 55-year-old pool’s aging infrastructure.

The Town Board first authorized borrowing in June to fund a $15 million renovation, which was pared to $13.6 million in September after the town surveyed park district residents.

The slide was added again in October in response to feedback from residents. It will send swimmers into a separate basin, leaving the deep end of the main pool unchanged.

The park district’s 12,847 residents will cover the borrowing with property taxes, which were set to rise to $98.88 from $38.39 for a $412,400 home under the $13.6 million plan. The district covers North New Hyde Park, the Village of New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Herricks and Searingtown.

It is uncertain how the additional borrowing would impact taxes, but Wohlgemuth said she thinks any increase will be minimal.

Construction is set to start in June and would take about a year, meaning the pool will be closed this summer. Officials have said the pool would need to close permanently if its infrastructure is not revamped.

The extra money would give the town “the flexibility to get the job done quickly and the pool open for next summer’s season,” Trottere said.

Supporters of the renovation argue a new pool with a water slide would attract more young families and other paying members, which would defray the tax burden on park district residents.

Memberships have declined from about 1,500 in 2013 to about 1,300 last year. Member fees covered about a third of the park district’s $1 million budget in 2016, while property taxes covered about two thirds.

Bill Cutrone, the president of North New Hyde Park’s Lakeville Estates Civic Association, said he thinks the plan will make the pool the best it can be, but he is still skeptical that it will draw many new members.

“It’s going to be great having three pools, along with the slide,” Cutrone said, referring to the swimming pool, kiddie pool and water slide basin. “I just don’t know if enough people are going go to the pool to warrant that expense.”

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