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Indoor pool opens in park – QNS.com

Indoor pool opens in park

Parks officials made a splash - literally - at the recent opening of the brand-new, Olympic-sized pool in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
After talking about the pristine facility, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe jumped right in with schoolchildren from P.S. 15 in Springfield Gardens, the Townsend Harris swim team, synchronized swimmer Dr. Jane Katz, and the Roy Wilkins Senior Dolphins.
“Not only have we introduced modern design to public space for the first time in decades, but we have made a world-class swimming facility available to all New Yorkers,” Benepe said in a statement.
A year-long membership to the heated pool - which holds one million gallons of water, boasts three separate swim areas and is the first indoor public pool to be built in four decades - costs $75 for adults under 55 and $10 for seniors. Kids like nine-year-old Christina Paul, who patiently sat on the pool deck waiting to go in the water on opening day, can dive in free.
The pool is housed within the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Natorium and Ice Rink building, a 110,000 square-foot complex that cost $66.3 million to build and is the largest recreation center ever built in a city park. The facility’s NHL-sized hockey rink is scheduled to open later this year.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful use of public dollars in a public park,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who funded the project along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “This place was paid for by the people. It belongs to the people, and it will be used by the people.”
Built in partnership with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the project was originally envisioned by former city leaders Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, Borough President Claire Shulman and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern. Construction of the pool’s foundation had been completed in 2001, but the project was postponed after 9/11 due to financial constraints. Only after it was included in the city’s bid to host the Olympics was the pool plan revisited. Both Shulman and Stern attended the opening on Friday, February 29.
Dolphin Walter Moore, 80, of Jamaica said he has been swimming for the past 15 years but had never seen anything like the new park pool. “It’s my first visit. I wish the pool we had was like this.”
Later Moore showed some of the smaller pool-goers like seven-year-old Sabrina Thomas how to propel themselves forward by kicking.
Townsend Harris sophomore Kelly McCarthy, who went to the state swimming finals with her school, praised the pool’s cleanliness.
“You feel like you’re moving really fast across the water,” she said after completing 50 meters.
And fellow senior swimmer Donald Patterson, 73, said he was so impressed with the new pool he planned to return on Monday, March 3.
“It’s lovely. It really is, not only for the seniors, for the kids, for everybody.”

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