Olympic Trial Diving Pool to be Turned into Performing Arts Space

Photo of the diving pool at Astoria Park in New York City The diving pool at Astoria Park in New York City, once used for Olympic trials, will be renovated and made into a performing arts space in the coming years.

Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Park Commissioner, says they hope to break ground on the project by 2012 and open the new space by 2013.

Renovations will include cleaning up debris, removing several small diving boards, improving walkways, and filling the 16-foot-deep pool with cement. The entire project is expected to cost $1 million and will be funded by City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

“It’s going to be like ancient Greece and Rome,” Vallone said during an on-site news conference. He wants the new venue to provide a necessary space for local performers while also cleaning up a neglected public landmark.

One part of this historical landmark that will remain a part of the new performing art space will be the three-level diving board. It will be refurbished and used within the new theatre.

Plans for renovation are still being reviewed by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. However, the site is already being surveyed with people eager to get the new construction underway.

According to Vallone, the new space at Astoria will be available for arts groups, community organizations and schools.

This isn’t the first pool out of the New York City’s 1936 Works Progress Administration Project to be renovated and turned into something new. McCarren Park Pool was also set up for a makeover in 2001.

The renovations of McCarren Pool were postponed due to 9/11 and picked up again in 2005 with funding from Clear Channel Entertainment. The pool then became a concert stage until 2008 when the city’s original renovation plan for the pool resurfaced, including space for a performance stage, a new pool, an ice-skating rink, a café, a community center, and an exhibition hall.

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