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Councilman Steve: Save the D&D Pool!

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One week after the city announced that it would close the Douglass-Degraw pool this summer, the neighborhood’s councilman called the move disastrous and vowed to open the watering hole for his sweating constituents.

“A lot of families depend on this pool for free recreation,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg), who convened a meeting on Monday night at an overheated church on Atlantic Avenue to galvanize area support. “We need the this pool for our kids to stay active and out of trouble.”

The Parks Department claims that a budget shortfall will prevent it from opening the pool, located along Nevins Street between Douglass and Degraw streets. Keeping the pool closed when other public pools reopen on June 29 will save the agency a mere $200,000, the city said.

The “Double-D” pool was targeted because its attendance numbers are lower than other pools, and it is in an area that is largely industrial. But the fact is that the pool cooled 37,800 people last year and is mere blocks away from three large housing projects. It also also attracts bathers from surrounding Brownstone Brooklyn.

An online petition and a Facebook page were quickly created to convince the city to reverse course. So far, they’ve attracted hundreds of signatures and members, respectively.

Levin said the tsunami of activity would only help the cause. “It makes a very compelling case when you say that you have 800 signatures in just one week,” he said.

Pool users are desperate for the city to heed their cyber-pleas.

“This is a teeming oasis in a neighborhood that doesn’t have too many things like it,” said Howard Kolins, the president of the Boerum Hill Association. “It is a small thing, but to many, it’s a big thing.”

For the smallest residents near the pool, the closure is catastrophic.

“I want to punch the guy in the face that thought [closing the pool] was a good idea!” said 7-year-old pool fan Caleb Pitney.

The pool is also a cool break for parents — particularly families without air conditioning.

“This is sort of how we get through July and August,” said Wyckoff Street resident Jessica Hartshorn.

Along with the pool, Levin’s district also faces the closure of two day care centers and a senior center in the Gowanus Houses. Levin called the confluence of bad news “an unfortunate coincidence,” rather than the result of a powerful mayor picking on a freshman lawmaker.

The city’s $62-billion budget must be passed by the end of the month, and word of the pool’s fate will come by then.

“This is not a done deal,” the lawmaker vowed.

The savings represent three-millionths of the city budget.

Updated 8:01 am, June 16, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Reggie from Boerum Hill says:
A candidate for New York State Assembly named Doug Biviano actually has a petition to save the pool on his website:

http://bivforbrooklyn.com/douglass-degraw-pool
June 15, 2010, 10:57 am
hj from jk says:
The Councilman does nothing for the community -- so he has plenty of time to fill the pool and keep it clean all summer -- especially useful if he could be in the pool and stop people from urinating into it.
Thanks Steve.
June 15, 2010, 3:12 pm
Sylvia from Degraw St. says:
This pool REALLY does serve many, many children & families in several neighborhoods. It doesn't cost much to keep it open, PLEASE do!
June 15, 2010, 3:45 pm
Melanie from Beorum Hill says:
The original petition is actually here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopclosureofddpool/
June 15, 2010, 9:34 pm
TomR from Park Slope says:
I say it again... Let Marty Markowitz get some of this buddies like Bruce Ratner and the owner of the Moscow Nets to donate enough to run the pool for the season.
June 16, 2010, 2:39 pm
Monica from Manhattan Upper East Side says:
City pools are closing in poor neighborhoods (The Douglas and DeGraw pool in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn; Fort Totten's pool near Bayside, Queens; The West Brighton pool on Staten Island; and Wagner pool in East Harlem) because politicians are diverting NYC park funds to wealthy neighborhoods to renovate and add features to already existing and practically brand new parks. An example is Pavilion Park located in the tony Upper East Side of Manhattan at 61st Street overlooking the East River. Tiny but chic the 12,000 square foot (slightly less than ¼ acre) Pavilion Park was built in 1995 --only 15 years ago-- at a cost of $2.1 million dollars (a price tag that does not include the cost of the Alice Aycock rooftop sculpture).

On June 9, 2010 I attended a Manhattan Community Board 8 meeting where I learned that plans are underway to completely revamp Pavilion Park WITH $1 million dollars of City park funds. Existing practically brand new fencing and benches will be replaced as will the $600,000 hex tile patterned paved surface. Why? Because wealthy Upper East Side residents have decided they now want a raised lawn for a more up-to-date green look. They may be wealthy, but they certainly do not want to spend their own money which is why the City will pick up the $1 million dollar tab! When I objected, I was informed that it wasn't costing "that much" money. Imagine. Only $1 million dollars. Chump change in this hood. (Especially when it comes with money saved by closing your pool!)

Hey, I know what. Come use our pool. Yes, believe it or not, we too have a public pool here on the Upper East Side. It is located in John Jay Park on East 77th Street and guess what? Our pool won’t be closing this summer. And you know why I am inviting you to swim in our pool? Because we won’t be using it, that’s why. Like the rest of my wealthy neighbors, we’re gonna be out in the Hamptons. Hey, suckers. Have a nice summer!

(A big round of thanks to our elected and appointed officials who put wealthy white Upper East Side residents first. (UES: 88% white, $88,000 per capita income. Brooklyn census tracts closest to D&D pool (71, 125 & 127): 15% white, 80% black and Hispanic; median household – not per capita income is approximately $23,000.)

Special thanks to Mayor Bloomberg (who lives in the Upper East Side, of course) Parks Commissioner William Castro, Manhattan Parks Commission Adrian Benepe, Manhattan Community Board 8, Council members Jessica Lappin and Daniel Garodnick) for keeping the money (and the open pools) where they should be – in the hands of wealthy white folks!

Does this sound fair to you?
June 20, 2010, 10:27 pm

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