The hot summer of 2023 is reaching its final weeks. For many Roslyn area residents, something was missing, namely the longtime pool at Christopher Morley Park.
Plenty of North Shore residents are unhappy. On Tuesday, July 25, they gathered at the park to protest the closing and demand that Nassau County, which has jurisdiction over the pool, re-open it by next summer.
Great Neck resident Weihua Yan, founder of the North Shore Residents for Reopening, was joined by Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), plus dozens of local residents, parents, and summer campers, to demand Nassau County re-open the County Parks Department’ only public pool on the North Shore of Long Island.
“As founder of North Shore Residents for Reopening, I was proud to stand alongside friends and community members to demand the reopening of Christopher Morley Park’s pool. It’s shameful that this accessible resource for family enjoyment and community cohesiveness has been closed due to political inaction,” Yan said. “This pool has been a staple of the community for 60 years and allowing it to fall into disrepair is an affront to the mental health of the communities who rely on this pool for exercise, socialization, and recreation. It must be reopened.”“We need a public pool,” Yan added in an interview with The Roslyn News. “The people on the North Shore are being short-changed. The pool has been neglected.”
Yan said that the cost of making necessary repairs “is nominal.” Plus, the dividends, he added, would be lasting: Children could hide from the heat during the summer months when they don’t have “many alternatives,” senior citizens also could find refuge in the pool area.
Yan said that the coming weeks and months would see a petition drive calling for a study by the county on what repairs would be needed for its re-opening.
“I really feel terrible because I know a lot of different groups use the pool,” said DeRiggi-Whitton once the announcement was made. “It’s a shame to see it happen. I know it’s a tremendous amount of money but I really do like to see things for kids to keep them busy… it’s a loss.”
At the rally, protesters noted that the Olympic-sized pool has been a staple of the community for more than six decades and serves hundreds of children every summer.
Nassau County announced last month that the pool would be closed this summer.
“The pool needs extensive repairs, and the usage has continually gone down,” said Darcy Belyea, the Nassau County Parks Commissioner. “The Parks Department is currently re-evaluating whether to continue to use the pool or to put other recreational attractions there instead.”
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said that the county is looking into another function for the pool in case needed capital investments will not be used for the pool’s future re-opening.
“If we don’t [use the funds] we will find another attraction to take its place. It may be some of these spray pads that seem to be very popular with younger kids,” the county executive said in a statement.
High maintenance costs combined with surprisingly low attendance numbers contributed to this summer’s closing.
The problem with low attendance, Blakeman said, began in the summer of 2020 and has continued into this year. In 2022, about 1,000 local residents use the pool.
Christopher Morley Park is a public, Nassau County-owned park. It opened in 1961 and occupies 98 acres of land in its location on Searingtown Road.
The park is named for Christopher Morley, a Roslyn resident who was also a popular twentieth century author.
Among its many amenities are a dog park, walking paths, a nine-hole golf course, three baseball and softball fields, four basketball courts, two pickleball courts, paddleball courts, a shuffleboard, a picnic area, and a fitness trail. That also included a pool, something many North Shore residents would love to see added again to that impressive list.