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.