Work yet to begin on Roberto Clemente Park pool in Brentwood
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Brentwood's only public swimming pool -- which was closed by Town of Islip officials last spring because of budgetary and safety concerns -- was scheduled to reopen in June, but the bidding process has not yet been finalized and work has yet to begin, authorities said.
The town board does not have a date set to vote on a bid to begin the $1.5 million reconstruction of the Olympic-sized pool, which has not had any significant work done since its debut in 1981, according to town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia. It now needs complete resurfacing, relocation of the underground chlorine tanks and an upgraded filtration system.
It is the town's goal to reopen the pool by the promised date, Councilman Steve Flotteron said, but Roberto Clemente Park, where the pool is located, is closed indefinitely while the Suffolk County district attorney and the state Department of Environmental Conservation conduct a criminal investigation into illegal dumping there.
Community activists from New York Communities for Change, a Brooklyn-based advocacy group, plan to present petitions to the town at a board meeting Tuesday, demanding answers for when the park will reopen. Leaders from the group say the youth of Brentwood -- which has about an 85 percent minority population and a median income level 35 percent lower than the state average -- need the park and pool to give kids an opportunity to stay active in positive ways.
Funding for the pool, which has suffered dwindling attendance and revenues over the past several years, was eliminated in the town's 2013 budget at the request of town board members, who ordered departments to cut their budgets while it tried to tackle a $26 million townwide deficit, Flotteron said.
The deficit has since been cut to $11.3 million.
If the pool work moves ahead, the town will pay for the reconstruction with $750,000 from its 2013 capital budget, along with grants from the New York State Dormitory Authority and the Community Development Agency, Flotteron said.
Councilman Anthony Senft, the town board's liaison to the town's parks department and a State Senate candidate, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
A new spray park is also planned during a second phase of reconstruction, but the funding for that has not yet been secured, Birbiglia said.
The future of the Casamento Park pool in West Islip, which was subject to shorter hours of operation last summer -- also because of budget constraints and low attendance -- is uncertain as well, officials said.
Still, Flotteron, who blamed "deplorable" prior administrations for their failure to maintain town parks and pools, said: "Our goal is to have all town parks ready and open by June."