(L-R): Photo taken in 2013. Yonkers City Council Minority Leader Michael Sabbatino, Westchester County Board Legislators Ken Jenkins and MaryJane Shimsky, former Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick, and former Westchester County Board Legislator Bill Ryan.
WHITE PLAINS, NY – June 12, 2014 — Westchester Legislators MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) and Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) called on County Executive Rob Astorino and his Administration to provide an update on existing design plans for the Sprain Ridge Park Pool renovations, a project approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators (WCBoL) years ago but unilaterally stopped by the Administration in 2010.
The two legislators urged the Administration to move forward with the present, original pool design after Tuesday’s meeting of the BOL Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Shimsky, which included discussions concerning new bond legislation totaling $5.5 million for the modernization of the pool, which was recently sent by the Administration to the WCBoL for consideration. Astorino Administration officials were hoping to have the bond approved in committee, but admitted that no actual new design work had commenced yet.
“Normally a capital project would be presented to the Board of Legislators for construction bonding when sixty percent of the design has been completed,” said Jenkins. “Since the original design is old it needs to refreshed and updated, at least to produce a new set of accurate figures for construction costs. Then the plan can be re-evaluated by the Board. The Administration was instructed by the Board to do so, but to date has not. Meanwhile, no design was completed for this new bond proposal, now almost nine months after County Executive Astorino promised this to Westchester residents, and that is just wrong.”
“Westchester residents are now suffering through their fourth summer in a row without this pool,” said Shimsky. “There is no good reason from the Administration as to why this pool was left to deteriorate. Renovations—or a completely new Sprain Ridge Park Pool—require an entirely new examination of the facility before we simply add money to the Capital Projects Budget for this year. Even so, the original design should now be updated, as intended.”
Jenkins released the plans and several other pertinent documents relating to the long-stalled renovations last November after Astorino announced during the County Executive race that it hoped to revive the restoration of the closed, pad-locked pool and recreational facility as part of the 2014 Capital Plan.
The WCBoL prepared a financial analysis for every project variation offered for Sprain Ridge Park Pool, including renovating the existing pool, simply replacing the existing pool or enhancing the pool facility to add competition lap lanes that would be moved from the pool at Playland. It made the most sense financially to renovate the pool, adding competition swim lanes and a spray park while utilizing the existing rocky terrain to create an additional attraction
Over $1 million has already been spent on design costs and construction costs that were previously approved by the WCBoL. The approved pool renovation project will involve reconstructing the existing pool complex at Sprain Ridge Park in a series of smaller pools, slides and play features that are popular in recreational facilities as such these days. Work will include pool mechanics, piping, structure, coping, decking, landscaping and concession area, plus associated site work. New fencing will be added to establish the pool area as well.
After investigations showed that the original pool was leaking, the Spano Administration and WCBoL began working collaboratively in 2001 to rehabilitate the existing pool area into a leisure pool facility in line with a national trend to boost attendance and revenue at municipal pools through the country. That year, $680,000 was spent to replace the aquatic playground system, and in 2006, another $500,000 went toward the design for the total project.
In 2011, the WCBoL unanimously voted to add $8.8 million to the 2011 Capital Budget in order to begin reconstruction of the Sprain Ridge Pool facility. Astorino Administration officials have trotted out a number of explanations as to why they have not moved the project forward.
Both Shimsky and Jenkins were taken aback by the Administration’s insistence today that the bond legislation move forward, despite the absence of a new design to guide what the costs would be.
“A smart, comprehensive design for the Sprain Ridge Pool is nearly completed, and with that information in hand the Board of Legislators can make an informed decision on the best utilization of County dollars,” said Jenkins. “Starting the project from the beginning, with a new design, would mean the pool would remain closed for the new few years. That is simply unacceptable, and residents have every right to be angry.”