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Cromwell Recreation Center Could be Rebuilt at Lyons Pool Under New Plan

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 16, 2017 5:19pm
 The Parks Department developed a plan to replace the demolished Cromwell Recreation Center with a new three-floor building on top of the parking lot of Lyons Pool.
The Parks Department developed a plan to replace the demolished Cromwell Recreation Center with a new three-floor building on top of the parking lot of Lyons Pool.
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New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

STATEN ISLAND — The demolished Cromwell Recreation Center could be replaced by a new facility built on top of Lyons Pool's parking lot under a new plan developed by the city.

The Parks Department is proposing a $90 to $100 million addition to Lyons Pool, which is across the street from the center.

"This is the beginning of something good and going in the right direction," said Kelly Vilar, founder of Let's Rebuild Cromwell Recreation Center, at a Community Board 1 meeting Wednesday.

"I think it’s been a long time coming."

Under the proposal, the city would build a three-story, 95,000-square-foot building.

The space would have four multi-sport courts with competition-sized basketball courts and play spaces for children and teens, according to the Parks Department.

The city would also demolish the unused diving pool at the site and replace it with a new children's playground and splash park.

Cromwell Center Replacement Feasibility Study by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd

Parks looked at two other locations to house the new center — including Goodhue Park and the closing Jersey Street Sanitation garage — but ultimately decided Lyons was the best spot as it's near the original site and already holds a recreational facility, according to a feasibility study.

The agency does not have a timeline or funding for the site yet, as Mayor Bill de Blasio wanted to create a $50 million indoor pool in the borough before proceeding with the recreation center project.

"He did say he would commit to the rebuilding of Cromwell, but that the indoor pool would come first and the rebuilding of Cromwell would be tied to the Bay Street Rezoning," said Lynda Ricciardone, Staten Island Parks commissioner, at the meeting.

"He was very clear of that."

Ricciardone added that there is also no timeline for the indoor pool — which would be the first public one in the borough — and the city is still working to select a site for it.

"I kind of feel like we shouldn't even be talking about the pool coming first," Vilar said. "We can walk and chew gum at the same time."

In a statement posted on Facebook, Councilwoman Debi Rose wrote she will push to get the center funded quickly.

"I look forward to reviewing the details of these plans to ensure they meet the needs of the community — nothing less would be acceptable," Rose wrote. 

"And I will of course be working with the administration to ensure that this project is funded and moves forward quickly."

The idea to rebuild the center at Cromwell was also pitched by Borough President James Oddo as part of his "Quadrangle Offense" plan to put four community centers in the North Shore.

The original Cromwell Center opened on Pier 6 in Tompkinsville in 1936 but partially collapsed in 2010 and was eventually demolished in 2013, the Staten Island Advance reported.

As a wave of huge, private developments began to be built on the North Shore's waterfront, Vilar and others started their group in 2015 to get the city to replace the center.

"While you do have all this wonderful redevelopment going on, none of it is for the community that exists today," she said.