The Tony Dapolito Recreation Center has been closed after an ongoing construction project found cause for concern, the Parks Department announced.
Mayor Bill de Blasio green lit a $9.9 million project, located at 1 Clarkson St., to renovate the popular recreation center which began in the fall of last year. The premises still remained open to members during the process, which looked to reconstruct and stabilize various sections of the building.
However, the doors were shut on July 16 and will remain locked for the foreseeable future due to “structural issues” that were discovered during the construction project.
Since then, amNewYork Metro learned that the over-century old building was suffering from structural deterioration, which ultimately led to the Parks Department deciding to close the center to the public due to safety concerns.
“While we never wish to close our recreation centers, we have found potential structural issues that necessitate we close Tony Dapolito until further notice. We understand how important this center is for the community, and we’re focused on conducting further assessments and determining next steps,” NYC Parks spokesperson Megan Moriarty told amNewYork Metro through a statement.
Built in 1908, the site was a hub for New Yorkers of all ages to exercise, play basketball, swim, and participate in various recreational activities while providing a free youth membership for teens 18 and under, and discounted memberships of seniors and IDNYC holders.
Featuring both an indoor and outdoor pool, the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center also served as an ideal location for members to cool off.
With the doors once again shuttered and the pools drained, some feel the iconic Greenwich Village center’s future is in a precarious position as members await further news on construction. However, not all locals are aware of the closure.
Lauren Meyer and her daughter looked to beat the summer heat on July 20 by taking a dip in the center’s pool, but instead she found locked doors.
“I had gone onto the Parks website and I was looking at a few public pools and I just wanted to check out this one, but when I turned up it was closed,” Meyer said.
After learning that the closure was due to structural integrity issues, Meyer shared that she was happy that the Parks Department closed the site until it could address the safety issues but also admitted she is a bit disappointed.
“It’s disappointing to not have access to this pool this summer, but if it needs to close down then I understand,” Meyer said.
While the Parks Department promises to keep New Yorkers updated with further information coming in the next several weeks, they ask that in the meantime members use other facilities in the area such as Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center and Constance Baker Motley Recreation Center, although these locations still operate under limited hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original construction was tentatively scheduled to be completed in March of 2022, yet it is currently unknown how much time, if at all, the necessary structural assessments will delay the project or when the center will once again permit visitors, still the Parks Department noted that their decision to close the building was out of “an abundance of caution.”