AN ALBANY 'TREASURE' BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS

Catherine Clabby Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: B1

Date: Monday, July 4, 1988

For Parks Commissioner Richard Barrett, it's a refurbished public treasure.


For 11-year-old William Reid, it's a safe place to hang, beat the heat and meet other kids. Most important, it's open.


The 57-year-old city pool at Lincoln Park, looking sharp with new coats of paint and an improved pump and filter system, once again is accepting customers, with a grand opening planned for Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. Free food, a ribbon cutting ceremony and an appearance by Mayor Thomas M. Whalen III will be included in the festivities.


Standing poolside Sunday, the first summer-like day since the pool reopened its gates Thursday, Barrett compared the $500,000 the city spent refurbishing the circular swimming spot with "taking something out of your attic and polishing it."


"This is the finest creation our society of the 1930s could make," said Barrett of the city's only non-wading pool, thought to be the largest cement pool in the Northeast. "There is nothing small or chintzy about it."


Last year, leaks were causing the loss of about one-quarter of the two- acre pool's water daily. Repairs included the elimination of most leaks and an automated pumping and cleaning system. The interior of the adjacent bath house and portions of its exterior also were painted.


On Sunday, more than 100 people relaxed on the roomy stretches of grass that surrounds the pool or splashed in its interiors. On hand were four lifeguards, including one manning a rowboat in the pool's seven-foot-deep center, and several city park rangers, some bopping to music supplied by portable radios and tape players.


The pool, open to all city residents without charge, can accommodate more than 300 swimmers at one time and sometimes attracts as many as 1,000 people to its grounds.


For Sally Mulligan of Hamilton Street, it's a place where she can bring her three children, who range in age from 2 to 8, and know each can be kept amused, if not in the water, then in an adjacent playground, she said.


"It's one of the benefits of living here," she said.


Dawn Finnigan of Madison Avenue, a 17-year-old chaperone to seven children using the pool on Sunday, said she's been looking forward to the reopening for weeks.


"I waited and waited and waited and practically gave up," she said.


The pool gives her younger friends a chance "to keep off the street, stay out of trouble and do something heathful," she said.


Nine-year-old Mary Robinson, among the children in Finnigan's entourage, predicted she and her friends will spend a lot of time here this summer.


"It's going to be hot out here," she warned.


Barrett was accompanied by his "official pool tester," his 3-year-old daughter Katie, who joined about 50 other bathers in the pool's waters before reporting adequate temperatures to her father.


Having learned to swim himself at the pool in the early 1950s, Barrett clearly is enthusiastic about its continued service to city residents.


"I just hope everyone can come down and enjoy this treasure," he said.