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Hudson Valley Press

September 19th, 2007

Floating pool in the Hudson River

The first seasonal floating pool in the Hudson River in nearly a century was open through Labor Day.

Beacon - The first seasonal floating pool in the Hudson River in nearly a century, River Pool at Beacon, opened to the public on August 3, 2007. The floating pool was originally proposed by folk music legend and River Pool cofounder Pete Seeger as a modern version of the floating pools he’d read about in New York City a century ago.

Constructed in 2006, the pool was first installed in the Hudson River at Beacon for testing in August, 2006. After some improvements made in the off-season, testing the pool in the river continued earlier this summer. Free to the public, the pool now offers families and young children a way to enjoy the Hudson River off the banks of Riverfront Park in Beacon. Twenty feet in diameter and thirty inches deep, the wading pool is supervised by a fully accredited lifeguard, and water quality is monitored regularly by the Dutchess County Department of Health. The pool is able to accommodate up to fourteen people (seven adults), and since opening, has often been used to capacity. It remained open to the public through Labor Day, at which time it was removed for winter storage.

The design of the partially submerged pool is environmentally sensitive and floats up and down with the tides to make for a safe wading area, protecting bathers from boaters, currents, and entanglement in river vegetation. With a permeable floor and sides that work as a below-water fence, the wading pool allows river water to flow through it. The entire structure is supported by rainbow-colored, floating fiberglass seats. The innovation of its design and construction is matched by that of its premise: The Hudson River is again swimmable, and it is now possible for a new generation of children to grow up enjoying the river by being in it.

"The encouragement this project has received from hundreds of individuals from Beacon and around the Hudson Valley has been remarkable... a true source of support in moving ahead with this project," says Alan Zollner, president of River Pool at Beacon, Inc. "It’s really wonderful now to see children safely laughing and playing in a clean river. Thirty-five years after the signing of the Clean Water Act, the time has come to reclaim this wonderful river as a clean, joyful place for swimming."

River Pool at Beacon, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of providing safe access to swimming in the Hudson River. Its goals also include educating the public about the unique aspects of the Hudson River Estuary and encouraging community stewardship of the river, while promoting swimming as a fun, healthful activity in a natural environment. To further serve that goal, the floating pool has also been designed as a prototype for a permanent larger and deeper pool to be built at a later date. Both the wading pool and plans for the larger pool are intended to offer examples for floating pools that can be built and installed in other rivers around the country.

The river pool’s construction and operation was funded by four cross-river swims and a benefit concert, as well as by sponsorship from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Hudson River Estuary Program, the Durst Organization, the Hudson River Foundation, and numerous individual donors. The project architect is Meta Brunzema Architect P.C., a New York City-based design firm with extensive experience in the design and development of innovative swimming facilities.

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