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Effort to Build a Public Pool in Bridgehampton

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 08:03
"Within this area, there is not a pool, close by," said Bonnie Michelle Cannon, executive director of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center.
Durell Godfrey

The news that a swimming pool has been added to the construction plans of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center's new 7,000-square-foot facility has made quite a splash around town.

Bonnie Michelle Cannon, executive director of the center, sees the pool, funded by an anonymous donor, as an opportunity to address a longstanding inequity affecting the children she serves. "Within this area, there is not a pool, close by. The only pool that I know of is the East Hampton Y.M.C.A. and the [Southampton Town Recreation Center]. This will be a mid-location pool that will be a good location for the community specifically surrounding Bridgehampton."

"The majority of the individuals that come to the center are black and brown children, many of whom do not know how to swim. We want to address that. We may have a partnership with swimming instructors, but we have not discussed that yet."

Moreover, Ms. Cannon sees the pool as an opportunity to diversify the lifeguard work force. "Here on the East End there is a demand for lifeguards, and I could count the number of black and brown lifeguards on my hand. I wouldn't mind more diversity in that area, to perpetuate and increase the diversity in those kinds of careers for our young people."

Plans are in the pre-preliminary stages, so not much information is available regarding the timeline of the pool's construction. Bill Chaleff of Chaleff & Rogers Architects said that "all we have is, that it is 25 feet wide by 75 feet in length, which is by far the most common length in the U.S. for competitive swimming matches."

"There are some clearing issues that need to be resolved, but I am hopeful that it will work out" Ms. Cannon said. The property, which was once a farm, will need to be cleared to make way for the construction.

The pool's location is ideal for the community in more ways than one. As Ms. Cannon put it, it is "a win-win" for all.


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