Talk about a pipe dream.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is closing its popular pool at the end of this summer, and park officials say the only chance of replacing it is a fanciful plan to build privately funded floating swimming hole in the East River that is years and millions of dollars off being a reality. But even if it does comes to fruition, locals say it will be no replacement for the beloved family-friendly paddling pool and its adjacent sandy play area.
“It’s whack,” said Fort Greene dad Kevin Cummings, who takes his 7-year-old son to the pool at least twice a week. “It’s not kid-friendly — this is better for the kids because you’ve got the sand beach here where kids can play.”
Area parents recently mounted a campaign demanding the park keep the so-called “pop-up” pool, which has been open every summer near Pier 2 since 2012, but park honchos say it was never meant to be a permanent fixture and they can’t afford to keep it up and running.
Instead, they’re filling the space with more greenery, and are gunning to bring a private project called +Pool to the park’s shores — a Manhattan design firm’s dream of building an Olympic-sized swimming space in the shape of a plus sign that would use filtered water from the murky waterway.
“We are preparing to move ahead with expansion of parkland at this site,” said park president Regina Myer in a letter to local politicians who had fought to keep the swimming facility. “The budget does not including funding for a permanent pool. We believe that a floating pool is the most feasible means of providing a swimming pool at BBP.”
But the +Pool people say they have only raised $1 million of the $20 million they need to create their buoyant public bath, and it would take two years to actually build it.
If and when they do make it, Brooklyn Bridge Park is only one of nine sites they are considering — it may go near the new waterfront Domino sugar factory development in Williamsburg or off Transmitter Park in Greenpoint, according to +Pool spokeswoman Kara Meyer.
Myer said Brooklyn Bridge Park — which hosted a state-funded pool on a barge in 2007 — would still happily house a different floating pool, though the funding wouldn’t come out of park coffers.
It applied to build a dock to moor such a facility in 2010, but at the time admitted it didn’t have the $5–10 million it would need just to build that.
One local pol said he is on board with the whimsical floating pool idea and finding money for it, but in the mean time, the park needs to find a way to keep the pop-up pool running so residents aren’t left high and dry.
“It’s critical that the pop-up pool not be eliminated in the interim,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights). “I’ll keep pushing … to maintain the pop-up pool and bring a permanent pool to the park.”