Pool project keep­ing eye on the past

Al­bany aims to pre­serve pop­u­lar site’s bowl shape

Albany Times Union - - FRONT PAGE - By Amanda Fries

A $262,500 state grant will help Al­bany craft a de­sign to up­grade the Lin­coln Park pool — and stop the iconic swim­ming fa­cil­ity from leak­ing 500,000 gal­lons a day — while main­tain­ing its dis­tinc­tive bowl shape.

Fo­rums on the Lin­coln Park master plan have in­cluded dis­cus­sions about the pool’s fu­ture. Af­ter tak­ing com­ments from res­i­dents, Al­bany of­fi­cials will now con­cen­trate on a de­sign to re­place the pool, said Ann Marie Salmon, Al­bany’s deputy com­mis­sioner of ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices.

“At the first meet­ing, we gave the pub­lic op­por­tu­nity to give us re­ac­tions on var­i­ous gen­eral shape de­signs,” Salmon said. “By and large, we heard over­whelm­ingly that they re­ally like the bowl shape.”

The re­sults of those con­ver­sa­tions will be pre­sented to the pub­lic at 6 p.m. Tues­day at the Thomas O’brien Academy of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy au­di­to­rium in Al­bany.

The 300-foot-wide, decades-old pool sit­u­ated in the city’s South End has lost wa­ter since it opened in 1931, stud­ies show. The con­sid­er­able amount it now loses is a cause for con­cern as pri­or­i­ties shift to wa­ter preser­va­tion, con­ser­va­tion and clean en­ergy.

In re­cent years, city en­gi­neers eval­u­ated the pool’s struc­ture to get a bet­ter han­dle on why it leaks and how leak­age can be stopped. Salmon said these early stud­ies will be folded into the de­sign plans. Al­bany would then ad­ver­tise a re­quest for pro­posal to so­licit bids for the project.

Despite the work that lies ahead for the iconic pool, it will be open this sum­mer, Salmon said.

And when res­i­dents go to en­joy the Lin­coln Park pool this year, users are ex­pected to be able to con­nect to free wire­less in­ter­net. Through a part­ner­ship

with the Al­bany Pub­lic Li­brary and the city’s recre­ation depart­ment, Lin­coln Park will be the first of three city parks to be con­nected to Wi-fi.

The other two parks that are ex­pected to be have Wi-fi ca­pa­bil­ity in­stalled are B lee ck er swin­burne and Wash­ing­ton parks.

Lin­coln Park is also the site of a planned $45 mil­lion sewer fa­cil­ity – a project that has shifted in de­sign since it was orig­i­nally pro­posed to make it less in­tru­sive and ad­dress pub­lic con­cerns. The fa­cil­ity is part of the park’s master plan, which also in­cludes im­prov­ing park equip­ment.

“We un­der­stand how im­por­tant this pool is as part of the over­all plan for Lin­coln park,” Salmon said. “This project is re­ally look­ing for­ward to re­build­ing it in part­ner­ship with what the com­mu­nity wants.”

Will wal­dron / Times Union

Al­bany’s Lin­coln Park pool is due for an over­haul. The city, which re­ceived a grant from the state to go to­ward the project, is ready to con­cen­trate on a de­sign that will keep its iconic bowl shape.

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