Nonprofit seeks support to build an olympic facility open to New Yorkers

Virtually generated.
Rendition provided by Inclusive Community Wellness and James Chang.

For years, public pools in New York City have been a hub for the community, serving as recreational and educational institutions to thousands of New Yorkers. As high temperatures become more common, they have also become important cooling centers. 

Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue announced a new initiative to build more public pools and improve existing infrastructure in the five boroughs. “Let’s Swim NYC” is a more than $1B investment in swimming infrastructure, the highest since the 1970s.  

In light of this initiative, the Brooklyn nonprofit organization Inclusive Community Wellness Inc. urges New York City officials to review the proposal to bring an Olympic quality flagship facility to the city, ideally in Queens or Brooklyn. 

The nonprofit focuses on promoting fitness and wellness education to underserved communities throughout the New York City metropolitan area.

“The proposed Olympic Competition Pool would attract world-class swimming, water polo, and artistic swimming teams and competitions, elevate the city’s aquatic culture, and also address our city’s shortage of indoor swimming facilities,” according to the petition letter to New York City officials 

In collaboration with the city and state, this would create an opportunity for the New Yorkers that otherwise have limited access to a pool.

“We’re not talking about putting a pool in Rockefeller Center,” said Michael Randazzo, executive director of Inclusive Community Wellness. 

Modeled similarly to Asphalt Green, the nonprofit fitness organization with two locations in Manhattan.

“We would offer programs as free as possible, understanding that if you wanted a competition, there would be some fees,” said Randazzo. “So that you can have a competitive high school swim program or a college water polo match, we’d have to work out the model to make it sustainable,” he added. 

Photo taken at the learn to swim program at Brooklyn College. ICW instructors Deniz Guran and Max Sidorenko teaching water safety skills to Xavier Bonseiro (6) and Alex Bonseiro (9).Photo by M. Randazzo

After the pandemic, many parents have struggled to sign up their children for swimming lessons. This pool would aid in resolving this issue, providing water safety training courses and swimming lessons to children and adults in underserved communities. 

The Olympic pool hopes to uplift the New York City aquatic culture.

For now, the next step is to present the proposal to New York City officials, from there, the project could potentially be ready as soon as the next summer. 

“Then you’ll kind of hash out what they would need from us, how we can meet the regulatory requirements and prove that we are the kind of partner they’d want to work with,” said Razzuno.  

For over 20 years, the initiative has been under way. 

“We’re trying again to cut the cost, cut the timelines and make solutions that can be implemented quickly,” said Razzuno. 

If the plan continues as expected, New York City will finally have an Olympic pool that rivals those in other world capitals.