A year-round, indoor/outdoor aquatic center with a removable roof and warm water therapy pool has been proposed for the Red Hook Rec Park pool.
Earlier this year, the members of the Red Hook Pool Board voted to authorize a fundraising subcommittee and feasibility study to determine the viability of converting and upgrading the existing pool into a year-round center on the Linden Avenue site.
On August 4, the pool board held a Member Appreciation Day to announce the project. At the microphone was Coach Kevin Storrs, the long-time manager of the pool who had taken the idea to the board after talking with friends and colleagues in the swim community.
“It is our hope that after we get done talking today and you get all excited and you tell other people about it, that we’ll be well on our way to convert the Red Hook Pool to a year-round aquatic center,” Storrs told the crowd.
The current plan calls for expanding and enhancing the existing pool, adding an 800-square foot warm-water therapy pool and an enclosure for the colder months of the year, and building a larger clubhouse, according to materials distributed by the pool board. The new clubhouse would help anchor a superstructure over the pool, “a skeleton of a roof,” said Storrs, that would support a flexible cover from Labor Day until mid-June each year. The area would then be heated by forced air.
Storrs explained that the pool board was raising money for the feasibility study to determine whether Red Hook and the surrounding area could support an aquatic center of this size.
“A year-round aquatic facility on Linden Avenue is not just for the Red Hook pool members. You can’t sustain yourself on just a small membership base,” added Storrs.
To be successful, he said, the new center would need to draw from the estimated 500 competitive swimmers who could benefit from a year-round training facility and also attract local schools for field trips or the creation of high school swim teams.
The pool board believes a new aquatic center would become an important Red Hook destination, drawing people from the surrounding towns and counties to take advantage of the new facility. Staffing seven days a week would also translate into a number of new full-time jobs and an additional boost to the local economy, they said.
The immediate goal is to raise the $15,000 to $20,000 needed for the feasibility study by October 1. Once the study is complete, the pool board will then decide whether to move forward to the next steps in the process: the creation of a business plan, grant writing and raising additional funds for construction.
The Linden Avenue pool was constructed in 1969 and has operated as a private, member-operated and supported non-profit ever since. The pool has been a cornerstone of summer in Red Hook for over 40 years. All operations are funded mainly by memberships, pool lessons and the occasional donation.
To donate or learn more about this project, visit www.redhookpool.org/ProjectEndlessSummer.