Today’s news:

Study to assess demand for pool in Rockaways

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) has announced that a $200,000 feasibility study began earlier this month for an indoor swimming complex at Jacob Riis Park.

The study, paid by funds secured by Weiner and U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) would measure the demand for a year-round pool and determine construction and operating costs, identify funding sources and assess the economic impact of alternative sites.

“There has been considerable debate about whether or not there’s a sufficient market for the pool and, hopefully, this study will clear up,” said Weiner.

In the process, the study, conducted by San Francisco-based Dornbusch Associates, will look at pool use at the park and how frequently swim teams might use such a facility, he said.

Riis Park, set in the Gateway National Recreation Area in Rockaway, has served as a public beach and recreation site since 1932. Along with a bathhouse, the park contains a mall complex and concession stands.

Since at least the early 1990s, Rockaway residents have suggested building a swimming facility at the bathhouse site.

Funding for the study comes from a $4.1 million appropriation for park renovations that Weiner, Clinton and Schumer secured last year.

According to Weiner, the funds to conduct the study marked a compromise between people who want a swimming facility and those unsure of its need.

He said those in the “If you build it, they will come” camp have always been in conflict with others. “But we don’t want to build a white elephant. We decided to try to get funding to build up the bathhouse and agreed to study the question of demand,” Weiner said.

The congressman said Rockaway residents need a swimming pool in Riis Park. “If they want to go swimming in a pool in December, they have to cross the bridge to go into Brooklyn or cross the Atlantic Beach bridge to go into towns.”

Additionally, the lack of a pool at the park forces swim teams to leave the peninsula to practice, he said. “When we had our organization meeting, coaches of swim teams were heavily represented recently,” he said.

Not many Rockaway residents oppose the pool, Weiner said. “Occasionally, constituents reach out to me about logistical concerns about parking, traffic and things like that. But few people that I’ve met have been opposed to the idea,” he said.

The study might be completed by Thanksgiving, Weiner added.

Renovating the Riis Park bathhouse is part of Weiner’s efforts to improve New York City’s only national park. He also seeks to restore Charles Park, mediate the disappearance of marshland in Jamaica Bay, build a new ferry landing in Fort Tilden, renovate a playground in Riis Park, and make repairs at Floyd Bennett Field.

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