Park it elsewhere: Public-housing tenants pan idea to put Double-D pool’s stand-in on their pavement

Diving in! Borough residents celebrate city pools’ opening day
Photo by Jason Speakman

They’re shooting this pool plan down.

Residents at a Boerum Hill public-housing complex told the Feds to sink their proposal to put a temporary pool on a parking lot there when Gowanus’s Double-D closes as part of the Gowanus Canal cleanup, claiming they lost enough spots already after the city ceded other pavement at the property for a pair of privately owned towers.

The Environmental Protection Administration leaders in charge of scrubbing the Superfund site told Gowanusaurs in June that they are eyeing a parking lot at Wyckoff Gardens as a possible place for the short-term swimming hole, months after the city announced that it tapped developers Two Trees and The Arker Companies to build two 16-story buildings with 500 apartments — half of which will rent for below-market-rate — on blacktop at the complex.

And those towers will suck up too many parking spots as it is, the residents argued, so the Feds must search elsewhere for the interim splash zone.

“We don’t want it because they are trying to put it on the back parking lot, that’s the only parking space we will have because the other two went to developers,” said Wyckoff Gardens tenant Paula Smith, a member of the complex’s resident-watch program. “We already sacrificed space.”

Another tenant who supported the plan to build the temporary pool — which federal officials promised after revealing they must drain and demolish the Double-D because the ground it occupies within Thomas Greene Playground must be excavated and purged of toxins as part of the Gowanus Canal’s cleanse — agreed that it should go somewhere other than on her neighbors’ parking spaces.

“Where are the residents going to park? I don’t understand where they are getting all this space from, it’s insane, there’s no space,” said Wyckoff Gardens Resident Association member Monica Underwood.

The residents’ pushed back against the proposed location for the pool at a Wednesday meeting hosted by Gowanus Councilman Stephen Levin and local civic leaders on the North Gowanus Vision Committee, where other attendees floated ideas for alternate sites to build the stand-in swimming hole.

Some of those sites are privately owned, however, including the lot at 270 Nevins St. — which Council recently approved the use of eminent domain to seize from its owner, film studio Eastern Effects, if the city cannot work out a deal to buy the land and the next-door Butler Street parcel where the ancient Gowanus Station building stands as a location for a water-filtration facility required as part of the Canal cleanup.

The Gowanusaurs also suggested several plots along the fetid waterway owned by private developer Property Markets Group, as well as publicly owned streets that dead-end at the banks of Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory, which the locals said city transit gurus could close off to traffic.

A rep for Eastern Effects declined to comment on whether its bigwigs would agree to a deal to hand over its land for the pool and filtration facility, and a Property Markets Group rep did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.