SCHENECTADY — Schenectady broke ground on its $10 million pool project Wednesday in Central Park.
Local and project officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at the site of what will become the city’s new public pool. The project is expected to be completed at the end of this summer, said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.
“It’s a great story for Schenectady,” McCarthy said. “It’s a great story of the partnerships, it’s a great story of the progress that’s happened within this community, and the value that we’re adding in this park.”
The project will include a recreational pool with water features, a resistance walk, and lap swimming, as well as a splash pad, a bath house and parking.
“By the end of the summer we’re going to have a brand new facility here that will add to the first-class facilities that are within this park, and within this community,” McCarthy said.
The City Council approved the $10.1 million project in late February, about double the cost of the original $5 million that was anticipated. Funds from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act money will cover the cost of the project, McCarthy said. The pool’s future maintenance and upkeep will be funded by the city’s general operating budgets, as other facilities in the park are, McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the new pool facility will be completed early enough so that it would be able to be utilized this summer.
“There’s something here for everybody,” McCarthy said. “If you want to play golf, you want to play tennis, you can just walk through the park. There’s also a dog park here. It’s healthy outdoor activities that add to the city as a whole, and our neighborhoods that are adjacent to the parks where we’ve done these upgrades.”
The city is not planning to charge a fee to those using the pool McCarthy said. The pool will be open to residents and nonresidents, he said.
The city’s existing swimming facility is more of a pond, McCarthy said. The city has to spend a lot of time and effort each year to maintain that facility, he said.
The previous pool still exists, said Emily Gardner, Director of Landscape Architecture with Saratoga Associates, the design firm contracted with the city on this project.
“This site had been chosen, it was the location of the former tennis stadium, it was under utilized, it was not at the point that it could be repaired,” Gardner said. The other tennis courts were more in use. It presented an opportunity to transform an underutilized space that would be an additional asset to the park.”
Plans have not been made yet for what will happen to the old pool, Gardner said.
The City Council initially approved the $4.5 million in funding for the pool project in August 2022, with an additional $1 million approved in September for general site improvements to the pool area. The additional $5 million will cover the larger scope of the project, and the rising construction costs.
The project was developed in part by a pool committee which included community members. The committee held a series of meetings throughout 2022, with the scope of the project eventually expanding to include additional pool facilities, such as the splash pad.
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