March 8, 2023
Today, as part of City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ second State of the City Address, held at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses in the Bronx, the Speaker declared what advocates and members of the + POOL community have long believed, that “Swim education must be considered a matter of justice.”
The Speaker announced the City Council’s proposal to address the city’s lifeguard shortage, and the lack of public access to swimming pools in NYC. The Speaker has stated “Year-round access to public pools is critical to New Yorkers’ health and safety.”
The Speaker also spoke to how access to pools is a racial justice issue, citing statistics from a NYC Health Department survey, “When one out of every three Black and Asian students, one out of four Hispanic students can’t swim, we’ve got to consider free swimming programming and the maintenance of public pools as a matter of justice.”
Sixteen City Council districts lack access to public pools, three indoor pools operated by NYC Parks and Recreation closed for repairs, one of the largest outdoor pools operated by the city will be closed for repairs this summer, and 15 pools are currently under renovation in New York City public schools. With New York City already having one of the worst pool-to-resident ratios in the entire country, this action is a welcome step for advocates for water safety and equitable access to swimming facilities in NYC. + POOL applauds the Speaker and City Council for taking this step towards swim equity, and to restore NYC to its former glory in swimming pool history.