The Closing of Chemka Pool

Natalie Garson, Managing Editor

This summer, Chemka Pool will be closed as a result of Hurricane Ida, which struck our area on August 26, 2021, and the damages the pool sustained. The repairs needed to re-open the pool were delayed because of supply-chain issues.

Hurricane Ida filled Chemka Pool’s pump room, which runs all of the pool’s filters, pumps, and chlorinators, with 11 feet of water, damaging the electrics and machinery, according to Nicole Higgins, the Pool Director.

A bid went out for repairing the pool, but the only contractor respondent could not meet the deadline that was in place because he could not get the parts.

A new bid is set to go out sometime in June, which “will give about two weeks for contractors who specialize in the work that we need done to bid on the projects,” said Higgins. The Village should soon have a better sense of the timeframe and type of work that will be done on Chemka.

The new bid will include a few updates to the design of the pump room, in the hopes that future hurricanes and storms will not have a similar effect. Higgins said that “new flood doors are being looked into, which would hopefully stop more of the damage” in the future, especially because the pump room is located on the bottom of a slope.

Chemka’s closing will impact Hastings’ residents. County pools are open to all Hastings residents, and some other options, like the Sprain Ridge Pool, the Saxon Woods Pool, the Brook at Tibbetts Park, and Wilson Waves, are semi-affordable and open to Hastings residents. The Parks and Recreation Department was unable to make a deal with one specific location, as many pools “just couldn’t handle the capacity of all of our village residents,” Higgins said.

Chemka Pool’s closing has also affected Hastings High School students, many of whom relied on the pool for summer jobs. Mrs. Iturbe, the director of Youth Employment Services, stated the importance of Chemka in student employment: “Students definitely count on getting jobs at Chemka,” especially for students who don’t have transportation and therefore have to work locally. Chemka also hired students at 15 years old who may find it to be harder to get a job elsewhere at this age.

That said, Mrs. Iturbe acknowledged that “many students have found alternate places of employment, particularly lifeguards, because they’re always in great need.” Many students were placed at the Greenburgh Town Pool.

Mrs. Iturbe made sure to alert students to the fact that Chemka Pool would be closed and to give them a list of alternate places to apply for employment.