BROOKLYN — A $20 million planned high-tech floating pool for the city’s waterways — with its own river-cleaning filtration system — needs a wave of public support to convince beer giant Heineken to fork over $100,000 in cash.
The team behind the Plus Pool is making a big push this summer to collect signatures for an online petition as part of the Cities Project sponsored by Heineken — which has pledged to donate $100,000 to the project if they can collect 100,000 signatures.
Since launching the petition on Earth Day in April, the pool project has gathered more than 3,000 signatures. The project’s team along with the beer company plan to find more ways to get swimmers excited about the plus-shaped pool that has four pools in one — a kids' pool, sports pool, lap pool and lounge pool — and is designed to filter the gunk and toxins from river water by acting like a giant strainer.
To raise more awareness for the project, Heineken is partnering with Tribeca Studios on a documentary film about the pool and New York’s waters that will premiere at a public event Aug. 3, according to Plus Pool’s deputy director Kara Meyer.
The film will focus on the story of the city’s polluted waterways and how Plus Pool can make swimming in the river safe when it comes to water quality.
An estimated 27 billion gallons of raw sewage a year flows into the rivers surrounding New York City, but the pool will be able to filter out contaminants, cleaning more than a half-million gallons of water each day to create swimmable water.
In addition to the film, there will be a virtual reality, 360-degree video to show people what it will be like to swim in Plus Pool, and later this year, the project will unveil a major public artwork on either the Hudson or East river scaled to the size of the pool, which will colorfully illuminate and respond in real-time to shifts in water quality, Meyer explained.
The art installation’s goal is to educate New Yorkers about the state of the river, she added.
Artists and designers Dong-Ping Wong and Oana Stanescu of Family Architects, PlayLab's Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin first conceived the project in 2010, and are still figuring out where the pool will be placed, after conducting a feasibility study of 11 sites, including spots in Astoria, Greenpoint, to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Hudson River Park and Chinatown.
Architect Marc Gordon of the firm Spacesmith, who designed the pop-up pool that's re-opening Thursday at Brooklyn Bridge Park, emphasized the importance of enlisting public support for the public pool amenities.
"Our goal with the Pop-Up Pool was to re-imagine a former industrial pier as a fun, family oriented resource in an area that was historically underserved by public amenities," he said, noting that there's been a grassroots campaign to preserve that pool, too.
It's especially critical "at a time when many public realm projects across the nation face de-funding, this community driven effort shows that a successful amenity can have real impact."
The Cities Project, which focuses on “making cities better,” has helped fund a restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium and San Francisco’s Bay Lights Bridge massive light sculpture installation.
But the Plus Pool has particular significance for the beer company, according to Raul Esquer, brand manager of Heineken USA.
“We have a special connection to New York’s waterways since traversing them to become the U.S.'s first import beer following Prohibition,” he said in a statement.