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Queens Chronicle

Parks set to close Fort Totten pool

Budget cuts force agency to shut down four outdoor city pools

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Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:06 pm, Thu Jun 30, 2011.

Due to budget cuts, the outdoor pool at Fort Totten in Bayside will not be opening this summer, the Queens Chronicle has learned.

Patricia Bertuccio, spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said Tuesday that due to $24.6 million in reduced funding, her agency decided to close four outdoor pools this year and shorten the season by two weeks, which is expected to save the city $1.4 million.

Also scheduled for closing are Wagner Pool in Manhattan, Howard Pool in Brooklyn and West Brighton Pool in Staten Island. The city’s remaining outdoor pools will open on June 29.

In Queens, still scheduled to open are Fisher Pool in Jackson Heights, Liberty Pool in Jamaica and the Astoria Pool.

The Parks Department’s statement on the closings went on to say: “Our decision was based on our judgment of several factors, including attendance figures, proximity to other pools, access to public transit and the location of the pools relative to residential communities.”

Parks is also cutting its seasonal staff and continuing its hiring freeze.

Last year, the Parks Department made a similar move to close the Bayside pool due to a budget crunch, but the mayor restored funds at the last minute and all 54 outdoor city pools opened on time.

Bertuccio would not speculate on whether a similar scenario was expected this year.

Located on the former Army base in Bayside, the Fort Totten pool was renovated last year at a cost of $500,000. It also features a kiddie pool and is the only facility with a grass-covered sitting area.

Swimmers who used the pool said it was like being at a private club without the expense.

The facility also offered free swimming lessons for adults and children and a twice-a-week senior splash sessions for adults over 55

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