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Bronxites Cool Off at Renovated Pool


Modernized pool and aquatics complex opens at Roberto Clemente State Park.

It's the hottest day of the summer, and some Bronx residents are spending the day poolside at a swanky new aquatic center. It's part of Roberto Clemente State Park, which has just re-opened after a major two year renovation.

The new facilities include an Olympic-size pool, a sprinkler park for children, a zero-depth wading pool, diving tank, and a new indoor basketball court with locker rooms. The area was crowded on Friday as many families waded in the water or laid on the concrete deck surrounding the massive aquatic center.

Bronx resident and State Senator Gustavo Rivera praised the pool Friday. He said it was important for the Bronx to have facilities like Roberto Clemente State Park to keep local residents healthy and active. He was concerned over the Bronx’s title as the most unhealthy county in the state.

"Communities that have access to parks and recreation, so that they can actually exercise outside, are actually healthier communities,” said Senator Rivera

One resident, Cal Collins, said he planned to go to the park everyday with his six year old son. “They did a great job,” Collins said, “We were on that side and the little park area was awesome. It looked like a little carnival type park.” One part of the park includes a section of large multi-colored tubes shooting out water in all directions as small children run through them.

The park was originally built in 1973, but its facilities had deteriorated over the years—a crumbling main pool, non-functioning kiddie pool, and worn-out locker rooms. The new renovations were funded through a $20 million contribution provided by New York City, as part of the City’s mitigation fund for construction of its water treatment plant in Van Cortland Park.

State Park Commissioner Rose Harvey thanked Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg for ensuring the park construction was completed. She and other local lawmakers dubbed the area the "Central Park of the Bronx".

"You can see that there are many children enjoying it,” said Harvey, “It's important that we are not only going to make it available for this generation, but that it's going to be here for the long term.”