Four City Pools May Close Because of Budget Cuts, Parks Department Warns

By Ben Fractenberg on May 31, 2013 8:07pm 

 All city pools could close two weeks early this summer unless budget cuts are restored, the Parks Department commissioner said Thursday at a City Council hearing.
All city pools could close two weeks early this summer unless budget cuts are restored, the Parks Department commissioner said Thursday at a City Council hearing.
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NEW YORK CITY — While temperatures sizzle this summer, some city residents may see their pools close because of budget constraints.

Wagner Pool in East Harlem, Howard Pool in Brownsville, Fort Totten Pool in Queens and Faber Pool on Staten Island are all on the chopping block unless the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation can find an additional $1.5 million, according to testimony given by Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White to the City Council on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, unless the City Council restores the $1.5 million needed to operate the pools, we will be forced to close four pools and shorten the season for all pools by two weeks," White said. "Our decision was based on several factors, including attendance figures, proximity to other pools, access to public transit and the location of the pools relative to residential communities."

State Senator Daniel Squadron, who is running for public advocate this fall, said that if the budget cuts stay in place he will work to create partnerships between well-funded park conservancies and the city parks impacted by the cutbacks.

"Today's news only underscores what we already know: more and more, good parks, pools, and open space have become a luxury for neighborhoods that can most afford them, rather than something each and every New Yorker has access to," Squadron in a statement. "That's why we are in dire need of additional city and state funding to sustain and repair our parks, and forestall these closings."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $69.8 billion budget on May 2, the last of his administration.

The budget now has to be approved by the City Council, which negotiates with the mayor's office to reach a final decision on cuts.

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