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Elmira Hopes to Find Good Use for Brand Park Pool

ELMIRA, NY • May 7, 2010

Elmira officials hope to apply for a state Council on the Arts Preserve New York grant to help determine how the historic structure at Brand Park Memorial Pool can be reused.

Elmira City Council will vote Monday to authorize applying for a grant of up to $15,000 through the Preservation League of New York State.

The grant would be used to hire a consultant to offer recommendations for reusing part or all of the structure in a way that the city can afford and maintain, said Kelli Ramsdell, the city's director of community development. The pool was last open in 2005.

"It would cost millions and millions of dollars to restore that pool, and it's not really cost-effective for the city to maintain that type of pool," she said.

Officials hope a consultant can come up with some options for reusing the structure and provide cost estimates, she said. City Council will vote on the grant application when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday on the second floor of Elmira City Hall, 317 E. Church St.

Many members of the community have said they would like to save at least part of the structure and possibly build something around it, or possibly take out the pool and build something inside the structure like a sprinkle park or an amphitheater, Ramsdell said.

The oval, above-ground pool has ground-level dressing rooms and a deck around the outer perimeter. It cost $169,000 to build in 1949, when it replaced a pool that was destroyed in 1946 by a flood, according to the city.

The art-deco-style pool was designed in 1937 by Wesley Bintz and is one of only a handful of Bintz-designed pools that has not been demolished.

Grant awards are to be announced in September, Ramsdell said.

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Historic Elmira, Inc.
PO Box 252, Elmira, NY 14902