Disproportionate allocation of city funds to communities of color questioned again
By Nico Simino
As news of the Brownsville Recreation Center’s indoor pool shutting down for the rest of summer spreads due to repairs, questions have arisen over how the city allocates it’s budget when it comes to community resources.
The main reason for the suspicion is that while the Brownsville pool at 155 Linden Boulevard, which was long overdue for repairs, is closing, Williamsburg’s McCarren Park pool, which was forgotten by the city for 28 years, has been re-opened featuring all new upscale designs and a price tag of up to $50 million.
The Brownsville pool repairs are estimated to cost only $1.49 million.
McCarren park pool has been plagued with violence since it opened this summer, which has caused an uproar in the community, with some suggesting that the violence is being caused by people coming in from other neighborhoods. If this is true the Brownsville pool closing will only add to the fact.
Causes for the repairs at the Brownsville pool include: cleaning up Mold and mildew that has formed on the walls around the pool since the ventilation system broke down years ago, maintenance crews have been using a rusty old fan instead. Light fixtures and doors are rusted and tiles are missing from the floor. Swimmers at the pool even said paint chips and plaster routinely fall from the ceiling.
Parks officials have said remediation work will begin the week of August 6 and will take a full month. Then workers will start installing the new ventilation, air conditioning, and dehumidification systems as well as architectural finishes.
“We are talking with the Brooklyn Parks Commissioner, securing funding for the project was the main issue, but now it’s finally going to happen,” said City Councilman Charles Baron.
“The summer is the best time to close an indoor pool to make necessary repairs because other pools are open. We have 13 outdoor pools in Brooklyn as alternatives. We are happy to speak with Council Member Barron about the pool and the plans,” said Brooklyn Parks Dept. Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey in a statement.
“If we kept the pool open for the summer, then we won’t be finished by next summer,” said Baron. “The Commissioner has the same interest as us.”
Some members in the community aren’t happy that the pool is closing before the end of summer.
“The whole pool needs to be fixed, but that just gives us three more weeks,” said Joan Revan, 75, who has been swimming at the Brownsville pool for more than 25 years. “At least give us until the end of summer.”
The larger issue, according to Baron is how the city allocates its funds.
“There is straight up racism in how the city gives out its’ funding.” said Baron. “The city capital projects budget has billions of dollars in it. Why can’t we take $25 million out of it and open up 10 youth centers to keep our youth off the streets?”
As of now, the Brownsville pool is scheduled to re-open to the community next summer, 2013.