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New York Adds Another Pool. The + Pool.

It's hard to imagine swimming in an outdoor pool swimming in mid February, but summer is  just round the corner. A new state-wide initiative to make swimming safer includes two indoor pools to be built in Queens and Brooklyn and the introduction of free or discounted swimming lessons for young people. 

The plan also includes money for a long-awaited floating pool in New York City. Mayor Adams sang its praises at the initiatives launch last month.

ADAMS- We’ve had a city of no. Any new invention everyone said no to. This was an invention that was possible of being able to use our own waterways to find pools and communities that have historically been ignored.

Dominic Hall-Thomas Reports - from one of the potential sites for the new pool

DOM LIVE -. I'm down here at one of the proposed sites of the plus pool on the lower east side. The water actually looks pretty clean. It's a bit murky, but It doesn't look like there's any sewage or trash flowing through. 

DONG- Quite simply, it’s a floating pool that filters the river water that it floats in. It’s basically a giant strainer that brings in river water, cleans it through the walls of the pool, so you’re swimming in natural river real water. 

DOM- That’s Dong-Ping Wong, the pool’s designer, explained how the filtering system worked at a conference. 

DOM- The Pool - called the “Plus Pool” because it is shaped like a plus sign – has been a long time in the making—fourteen years, in fact. 

KARA- We're actually moving at lightning speed. It takes 16 years to build an apartment building in this city.

DOM- That's Kara Mayer. She's the managing director of the Plus pool, so it’s her job to clear the final hurdles to get part of the pool in the water this summer. 

DOM - The Department of Buildings, Economics, and Environmental Conservation all have a hand in this. Which is why it's taken so long to get the necessary approvals. 

KARA - So many different agencies and a lot of different agencies aren't necessarily used to collaborating, on the regular. 

DOM- The team behind the pool has held two rounds of fundraising plus the mayor announced it’ll get $16 million dollars from the state and city. 

It’s a simple idea. As summers get longer and hotter because of the climate crisis, having more public pools to cool off in is becoming more and more important. 

But, there simply aren't enough pools to go round. Kara Mayer says In New York there is just one pool for every 150,000 people.

KARA- Comparable cities or what's recommended. It's more 1 to every 20,000. So we're just grossly, grossly underserved.

DOM- But convincing New Yorkers it's safe to swim in the east river will be its own challenge. 

JEREMY- It is totally feasible!

DOM- Jeremy Cherson is the policy expert at Riverkeeper, a nonprofit focused on the health of the states waterways. He says that the city desperately needs more places for New Yorkers to swim, and that plus pool is a step in the right direction to solving this problem. 

JEREMY- it  just seems like A common sense investment we should make now because some of the planning for this takes 10 to 20 years to go from idea  to an actual physical location

DOM-  So if somebody came up to you and said, okay, I don't want to swim in  the Hudson or the East River or the plus pool because it's river water. What would you say to them? 

JEREMY- Well, I mean, I would share the data that we have that shows how, how often the water can be safe for swimming. I think that might be cold comfort. 

DOM- The Plus Pool is one step closer to reality but still leaves some questions unanswered. One thing is for sure though. 

DOM- I'll dive in when it is open

KARA- Yes you're welcome. Of course, there's probably going to be no diving. 

DOM- Well, that’s that. 

Dominic Hall-Thomas, Columbia Radio News


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