Hochul proposes statewide investment in more swimming
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ahead of the 2024 State of the State address, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled NY SWIMS: the New York Statewide Investment in More Swimming. Several aspects of NY SWIMS are to build out new municipal pools in high-need areas, address the statewide lifeguard shortage, and restore and reconstruct current facilities.
According to data collected from Hochul’s office, more than 1,000 New Yorkers drowned from 2017 to 2021. Additional data from the CDC indicates that drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4.
“Access to swimming isn’t just about recreation – it’s about public health and climate resiliency,” Governor Hochul said. “NY SWIMS will be the largest statewide investment in swimming since the New Deal, expanding access for underserved communities and improving safety for kids across New York.”
Building out municipal pools in high-need areas
NY SWIMS will create a $60M grant program for the renovation and construction of pools in high-need neighborhoods. Local municipalities can apply for grants for public pool projects. Funds can be used for construction or other expenses, including site infrastructure, bathrooms, changing rooms, splash pads, and concessions.
Reimagining how New Yorkers engage with rivers and lakes
Hochul will also provide $60M in grant funding for the deployment of floating pools so New Yorkers can safely swim in natural bodies of water. The New York State Department of Health will provide guidance to ensure that the floating pools meet public health standards.
A new state-of-the-art swimming facility, +Pool, is also being introduced in New York City. The facility will float in the waters surrounding NYC. A demonstration project will be tested in the summer of 2024 and is expected to open the following year.
Deploying pools in urban environments
A $30M municipal grant program will be created to fund small, mobile, pop-up swimming pools that are movable. Pools can range in size and will provide temporary relief from extreme heat for disadvantaged and high-risk populations.
Reinvigorating the free learn-to-swim at state parks
State Parks will more than double the number of pools and beaches that offer water safety instruction programs in 2024. A pilot program to offer free sunscreen at State Park pools will be introduced.
Offer more transportation to get kids to the pool
Municipalities will receive assistance with locating additional swim facilities for aquatic swim instruction. State Parks will work to transport families and children to those facilities via the Connect Kids programs.
Making SUNY pools community anchors
New York will incentivize SUNY students to become lifeguards by covering the cost of a lifeguard certification exam. College credit will also be given for lifeguard training courses. SUNY will also collaborate with schools, local organizations, and municipalities to increase learn-to-swim opportunities statewide.