Local novice and competitive swimmers will soon have to find another pool to use beginning on July 5.
Nassau County’s Aquatic Center, located in East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park, is scheduled to be shut down for a period of time for the county to complete repairs. The closure will begin on July 5 and work is expected to be finished in the “first quarter of 2012,” the Nassau County Parks and Recreation Department said.
The center - which is used for competitive swim meets, high school practices and competitions and casual swimming - has suffered some wear and tear over the 13 years since its construction for the Goodwill Games in 1998.
The county also stated that some of the original work on the facility was “substandard,” specifically the HVAC system, and they are going to be “pursuing litigation against some of the contractors and the state to recover costs related to the original work.” New York State supervised the initial construction of the aquatic center in 1998.
Repairs will focus on installing a new HVAC system inside the pool area, upgrading the pool’s filters, removing and replacing the roof on the building and updating the pool’s lighting, the county said.
With the Aquatic Center serving a wide range of the local swimming population, many are left wondering where they will go in the meantime. The county plans to make Cantiague Park, located in Hicksville, available for those who normally use the Aquatic Center. Cantiague’s pool is heated and will “remain open for as long as the weather allows” – beyond the normal Labor Day closure.
Legis. Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said that she has been in communication with the Parks Department to “make sure that residents will have somewhere to go while it is closed.”
“They are trying to make every effort to accommodate those who will not be able to use it during the closing,” Legis. Gonsalves said. “It’s not that they want to close it, they have to close it. They are certainly not going to leave people out in the cold – they will find alternatives.”
Lake Success resident Ben Ching, 16, is on a team that utilizes the Aquatic Center. He explained that he would be “a little bit upset” if his team did not have a place to practice once the facility shut down for repairs.
“I’m going to miss it, but they will reopen it – I hope, God willing, soon,” said Pat Noll, of Massapequa. “I am going to miss it a lot, but if it needs to be repaired, it needs to be repaired.”
It will be a dilemma, Noll continued, to find a pool to swim at in the meantime. She said that she could go to a local pool in Massapequa or enter Echo Park as a guest since she is not a Town of Hempstead resident.
“It will be summertime so we can go to outdoor pools,” she said. “I just hope it is very temporary.”