The McCarren Pool shut down in 1984 due to severe disrepair and the public's opposition to its renovation because pools were sites of gang activity. In 2005, the empty pool basin became host to entertainment events like concerts, dance performances and film screenings, but a shift in public opinion from the ‘80s had some hoping the pool would one day be returned to its intended purpose.
“Public pools are now safe. They bring communities together and teach people how to swim,” said Benepe.
The local community board agreed that McCarren Pool and a year-round recreation center would be a wonderful addition to North Brooklyn, but the $50 million needed for the renovation was nowhere in sight until the mayor implemented PlanNYC, his long-term agenda for a greener New York City.
“We did start the process back when the economy was better, but sometimes some of these things take a long time to get going, but I don’t think we should walk away from them, and this one we will make sure is in the budget and gets done,” said Bloomberg. “I promise you, you can remind me, I will jump in the pool in 2012 in McCarren Park Pool.”
Benepe said when McCarren Pool reopens in 2012, it will be home to swimming in the summer, ice skating in the winter, and year-round indoor fitness and recreation.
“It’s almost miraculous because many of us had given up hope,” said Benepe. “This is a happy day and a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa present for all of us.”