The public pool season has started in Islip Town, but Brentwood residents said they are disappointed in the delayed opening of the swimming pool at Roberto Clemente Park.
Officials said they faced setbacks from weather conditions, such as the worn concrete resulting in the reconstruction of the entire pool area that prevented it from opening in late June like the other town pools. No opening date has been given, but officials have said they are still aiming for this summer.
Resident Nelsena Day, 69, said she has made her concerns public at several town board meetings. Day said some of her neighbors have relocated to other community pools.
“The Roberto Clemente Park means everything to the community,” she said. “This was an area where families would get together – openly, sit, swim, talk – we don’t have that anymore.”
The pool was shut down in 2013 because of budget cuts and later slated for repairs. It remained closed in 2014 pending an investigation into 40,000 tons of contaminated debris that was discovered dumped in the soccer fields of the park.
The town board approved the $2.78 million renovation on the pool as part of its capital budget along with other external funding sources.
“When we opened the pool, it hadn’t been open for a number of years, so when we opened up the pool unfortunately because there was still water in the pool, it froze one of the winters,” said Thomas Owens, Islip public works commissioner. “The integrity of the concrete was bad, so we had to remove all the walls down to the bottom of the pool.”
However, town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said they're "making tremendous progress with the pool’s rehabilitation.”
The pool’s renovation began last year on Oct. 16. Much of the work that is still needed includes grading the land around the pool and pouring the concrete for the deck. The tunnels and trenches that were excavated have also been filled in, Smith said. Work is being completed on the tile work for the swimming lanes and the stairs, with the last step being application of marble dust. Upgrades also include repainted bathrooms and new plumbing fixtures.
The open and close dates of each Islip Town pool vary based on the demand for usage, Smith said, but everyone is welcome at all the facilities. An Islip Town recreation card is required for pool entry.
Roberto Clemente Park reopened last year in August after the Department of Environmental Conservation assured residents that all toxic material had been removed.