Have you ever had a moment when you understand the reasons that something is happening, but you’re still mystified?
That’s the case with the pool at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. It’s closed. Six years after it was shuttered by Islip Town because of a budget deficit, four years after it was scheduled to be renovated and reopened, the pool — a community gem — still is closed.
Town officials can cite legitimate reasons for the delay. The discovery in 2014 of 40,000 tons of contaminated debris dumped in Roberto Clemente and the ensuing investigation and cleanup kept the park closed until August 2017. In October, workers discovered unanticipated weather-related damage to the pool’s walls. And yet . . . six years.
The predominantly Latino community in Brentwood has long felt underserved by Islip officials. Some residents and advocates filed a lawsuit last month claiming that electing town board members from the entire town rather than districts robs them of equal representation; no Latino has ever served on the town board. The pool delay doesn’t help those perceptions. Nor does the fact that two of the five men convicted in the dumping scandal were town parks officials. Nor does the recent discovery of another illegal dump site near a Brentwood middle school. Nor does the explanation by officials that an announcement about a new spray park to open at Roberto Clemente this summer was a “miscommunication” and that the spray park won’t be ready until next year.
The town is pushing to finish the Brentwood pool by the end of summer. It needs to come through this time.