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Mayor Adams announces $1b “Let’s Swim NYC” initiative to upgrade public pools

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In a landmark move to enhance public amenities and ensure water safety across New York City, Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue have unveiled “Let’s Swim NYC,” a comprehensive initiative backed by over $1 billion to revamp the city’s public pools.

This unprecedented five-year investment, spanning from Fiscal Year 2024 to Fiscal Year 2028, represents the largest dedication of funds to swimming infrastructure since the 1970s. It aims to enhance 39 pools citywide, including the construction of two new indoor pools and the full renovation of three others.

The initiative is part of the city’s broader efforts to combat increasingly hotter summers and improve water safety education. It also supports the city’s attempts to address a nationwide lifeguard shortage, with steps taken to enhance lifeguard hiring and training. Mayor Adams emphasized the importance of these investments in making the city more livable and ensuring public safety.

“New York City’s pools and beaches are incredible places for New Yorkers to come together, learn to swim, and beat the heat — and as climate change makes heat waves like this week’s more common and more severe, the need for pools has never been greater,” said Mayor Adams. “We’re making a splash with our billion-dollar investment over five years, which will open up more, better pools in all five boroughs for working-class New Yorkers to freely use. That’s how we make New York City a more livable place for everyone lucky enough to call the greatest city in the world home.”

To kick off this initiative, DOE Chancellor David C. Banks inaugurated two state-of-the-art swimming pools at the Harry S. Truman High School campus in the Bronx. These pools are among the seven that have been updated this year across six city campuses, providing students with modern aquatic facilities.

This summer, several upgraded outdoor pools will reopen, including:

Astoria Pool, Queens: $19 million reconstruction featuring a new pool shell, deck, and lighting.

Edenwald Playground, Bronx: Fully renovated mini-pool.

John Jay and Sheltering Arms Pools, Manhattan**: New colorful concrete decks, plantings, benches, fencing, and ADA ramps.

West Brighton Pool, Staten Island: Renovated to include similar upgrades.

Additional renovations will ensure smooth operations with new utility lines and HVAC systems at several locations, including Betsy Head Pool in Brooklyn and Lyons Pool in Staten Island.

Looking ahead, NYC is set to open a new $147 million recreation center with an indoor pool at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens and another at the $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in Brooklyn by 2025. A $60 million investment will also see the opening of a new pool at Harlem Meer in Central Park by summer 2025.

The city has also made strides to tackle the lifeguard shortage, with new measures to improve lifeguard hiring and operations, including better pay and modernized qualification standards. This effort is crucial to ensuring that more pools and beaches can remain open and safe for the public.

“This week’s heat surge reminds us that we need to use every tool to beat the heat — sometimes that’s as simple as suiting up and jumping in,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “We take real pleasure in delivering infrastructure that does double duty, delivering both safety and joy. We’ll see you poolside!”

The initiative has garnered support from various city officials and community leaders, who praised its potential to improve public health, safety, and overall quality of life for New Yorkers.

With “Let’s Swim NYC,” Mayor Adams and his administration are taking bold steps to ensure that New Yorkers have access to safe, well-maintained public pools, fostering a healthier and more connected community.

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