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Constantinides Plans to Overhaul Astoria Pool, To Cost More than $50 Million

Feb. 26, 2018 By Tara Law

The cost to overhaul the Astoria Pool and bring it back to its former glory will be in excess of $50 million, according to Councilmember Costa Constantinides.

Constantinides, who plans to fix the rundown pool, said that he wants the pool basin, the bleachers and deck surrounding the pool to be renovated. In addition, he wants the unkempt bathrooms and locker rooms to be repaired.

“The pool is not in great repair. We are patching it up all the time,” Constantinides said, adding that he can’t recall when the pool was last overhauled.

The Parks Dept. has provided Constantinides with preliminary estimates.

He said he was told that the cost of renovating the pool, stands and deck would require somewhere in the “ballpark” of $50 million. Overhauling the bathrooms and locker rooms, he said, is likely to cost an additional $5 million.

Constantinides wants the bathrooms and locker rooms repaired first.

Representatives from the Parks Dept. have come out to survey the pool and are putting together cost estimates, Constantinides said. The councilmember said that he hopes to have an exact estimate of what the entire project will cost this year.

Constantinides admits that the project would require the “biggest allocation I’ve ever sought,” and is unlikely to be completed during his term that ends Dec. 31, 2021. Nevertheless, he believes the historic facility is deserving of the investment.

“This is an iconic part of Astoria,” said Constantinides. “I feel like it’s time to make these investments for the next 100 years.”

The Olympic size pool was planned to hold 3,000 people, according to the Parks Dept. Although admission to the facility cost 20 or 30 cents when it first opened, the pool is today free to the public.

The structure, which still features the original Art Deco design, was built by legendary NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses with funding from New Deal agency the Works Progress Administration. Moses also constructed the Triborough Bridge, which overlooks the pool.

On Astoria Pool’s opening day— July 4, 1936— it was used for the final round of the Olympic swim tryouts. A fountain at the end of the pool served as the Olympic Torch in 1936 and 1964.

Constantinides said that for the project to be funded he would need the Mayor, Council Speaker and Queens Borough President to help.

The plan to overhaul the pool is separate from the $30 million that has already been allocated by the Mayor to revitalize Astoria Park under the city’s Anchor Park Initiative. That initiative includes a new soccer field and the overhaul of Charybdis Playground.

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16 Comments

Donna

Thanks Councilman Constantinides for your efforts in advocating for monies to fix the Astoria Pool. Let’s hope you, the Mayor, Council Speaker, Queens Borough President and the NYC Parks Department can all come together to definitely assure funding for this very important upgrade and get it done long before you leave office in 2021. I believe you can all do it!

The park and the pool go hand in hand. You can’t fix one without the other. With all of the over development going on in Astoria, I doesn’t make any sense to let a historic Pool alongside a soon to be newly renovated park fall into such disrepair and bring down the value, appearance and quality of life in the neighborhood.

Astoria is gravely underappreciated for and by far not maintained for our historic value. The poor Steinway Mansion would be a great example of this for one. Its essence essentially destroyed by selling it off to realtors who destroyed its surrounding land and being abandoned by our community, left to rot as if it has no significance in our local history which, it most definitely does.

The Astoria Pool is one of the main and only few historic places that we have left, that is still publicly functioning and even recognized. It should be a priority!

The public strongly relies on this facility every year as a great resource for recreation which, swimming facilitates good health practices including for seniors, disabled persons and it helps fight childhood obesity as well as for adults and let’s not forget allows for quality friends and family time for many.

It is imperative that we are able to swim there in a clean, healthy and also aesthetically appealing place. Recreation is a total mind, body experience, so yes the filter should be the priority as the health and safety of the public is number one of course. The bathrooms, locker rooms and the pool basin which, I have personally cut my foot on the bottom of it quite a few times already last summer, are also all included in the desperate need of repairs as well. This is an already functioning pool as I said, you can’t have it open to the public and not maintain it properly.

The councilman is absolutely correct that the surrounding building, the deck the bleachers etc. should also all be renovated. As the councilman said in so many words that if you only fix the inside, what good is it if the outside is falling apart?

I would also love to see the pool opened all year round with the season extended from Memorial day like the beaches, until mid to end September as long as it was still an outdoor pool, that’s what makes it great in the summertime. And I would love to see it as an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter.

The top of the locker rooms to the pool is also such wasted space and underutilized. It has so much potential. It could be used for all summer long international food festivals with seating like in other parks such as Flushing Meadows. It would be a great accompaniment to the already in progress amphitheater being built over the old diving pool as well as for the pool itself.

Or it could be used for Shape up NY City exercise programs on a regular basis such as yoga, Tai Chi, etc. Any of these would be great.

Keep working on it please.

I look forward to this great and historic pool getting better in the near future.
Thanks again!




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wogi

This pool needs to be updated especially now that Astoria has Ferry Service. The crowds will only get bigger and hopefully there will be funding to maintain the park because they leave a mess behind when the pool is open.




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Susan

I think that is Great! Renovate It….!
but to off-set the expense, they should charge a minimum fee to use the facilities ($3 to $5), so there is funding for future improvements.




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Elaine

This is a public pool. There should be NO CHARGE. Our taxes pay for this already. Public pools were built for kids and people that have financial challenges. Many people go everyday and could never afford to pay. You can always join a private pool club if you want to pay fees, etc.




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barbara

I wish there was free bus service that would take you to the pool. I live in East Elmhurst and it is a long walk to get to the pool. I take my grandchildren that i watch every summer. I can not afford the bus with all of them and I cant not ask my daughter in laws for extra money because they do not know I take them. They thinks its not clean but the kids love it. I get the kids to call it grandmas tub.




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Kaiser Aponte

I support renovating the facility but I can’t help noting that it’s an extremely short-sighted plan. What the city needs are public pools to be open year-round, like in any self-respecting first-world country.

Instead of thinking “we can only keep pools open 8 weeks a year and have to let them fall into disrepair, because they’re free” we should be thinking “what do we need to charge in order to make pools an amazing part of New York city life?”.

Think about it: if public transportation were free, would that only be open 8 weeks a year? Are pools that cost millions of dollars a year but are closed 44 weeks a year any less insane?




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wendy

Happy for this… the pool played a large part in my life and now as a senior citizen… I swim there several times a week. Hopefully repairs will be done after the summer so it will be ready for 2019… thats if we get the funding…




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dan

I wish they could make the pool salt water so more seniors can enjoy it. And have a separate section for seniors only (there is enough space for that).




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Elaine

Dan: They do have a special section for seniors on Mond., Wed., & Friday from 11-1. They also have water aerobics and other activities for seniors only.




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dan

Thank you! I was not aware of this. I guess I will have to DVR the Price is Right and go for a swim during that time.




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Elaine

It is great that improvements will finally be made but the deck and the bleachers are in good condition so it seems unnecessary to spend money on that. It’s the pool filter system that needs repairing. We lost a few pool days because of the problem. We now only have a summer rental external filter system and even that breaks down and doesn’t work well. We need a bathroom at the other end of the pool. I hope these renovations do not affect the summer use of the pool.




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Debra

I agree with you Elaine. I can’t believe there are no bathrooms on the side of the handicap entrance. Cosmetic fixes can be done anytime. The filtration system should be a top priority. The pool is used by thousands. Life long resident of Astoria who uses pool for early bird lap & senior swim




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