Village News

Renovations progress at pool, new court


It’s been a busy winter for village workers. At a time of year when outdoor projects are typically put aside — except for the occasional snow plowing — it’s the insides of Valley Stream’s facilities that get the most attention.

When Valley Streamers head back to the pool this summer, they will notice a few changes. Village crews are currently renovating the locker rooms, which have not be redone since the pool complex opened in 1960.

At 195 Rockaway Ave., the newest addition to Valley Stream’s collection of property, work is progressing on the Village Hall annex, which will soon house several law enforcement departments and eventually the courtroom.

The building, which was constructed in 1926, housed Village Hall in the 1940s and early 1950s, before it was sold off. When the building went up for sale two years ago, village officials took interest, and officially acquired it late last year.

The second floor will house offices for the court, Public Safety, Code Enforcement and Auxiliary Police. John Mastromarino, the former village treasurer, has been tasked with managing the day-to-day operations of the building. He said the second floor is in good shape and those departments, with the exception court staffers, should be able to move in by the end of the month.

No construction was required on the second floor, as it was used up until recently by a law firm. The only work needed, Mastromarino said, was a good thorough cleaning and some paint touch-up. Much of the furniture left behind was in good condition and will be re-purposed, he explained.

The first floor, which formerly housed a bank, needs significantly more work. The teller windows have been removed and the carpet torn up. The drop ceiling, lights and duct work will be removed and the original ceiling will be restored to capture the art-deco architecture.

Jimmy Neal, the village carpenter, will do the restoration himself, and said it will take about 10 days to repair the molding to its original 1926 state.

Two weeks ago, a new electrical system was installed on the first floor. The service had to be moved from the basement, which has been prone to flooding. Brian Howley, the village electrician, will be charged with making sure all the lights, switches, outlets and breakers are in good working order.

Mastromarino said that village crews removed about eight tons of garbage and two tons of metal from the building while cleaning it out. He said he is hoping to have the courtroom operational by the fall.

He and other village officials recently visited the City of Glen Cove’s courtroom, which also was a converted bank, to get some ideas as to how to best use the space on Rockaway Avenue. Mastromarino estimates that the room will be able to accommodate at least 176 seats, the same as Valley Stream’s current courtroom at Village Hall, though there will be benches instead of individual chairs.

Also, a handicapped lift will be added along the side of the building on Jamaica Avenue, and an elevator still must be installed. The shaft and all the parts are there, it just needs to be put together.

The purchase of the building, plus renovations, will cost about $1.1 million, Mastromarino said. The village borrowed the money as part of its annual capital program. “So far, we’re on budget,” Mastromarino said.

At the pool, the men’s and women’s locker rooms are being upgraded this winter with new plumbing, floor and wall coverings, drains and hot water heaters. The bathrooms will also be handicapped accessible.

All new pipes were put in under the direction of village plumber Danny Vecchione. New toilets, sinks and showers will be installed. Each sink will have four automatic faucets and showers will automatically shut off after three minutes to avoid water waste.

The locker rooms will have an epoxy floor similar to what was installed at the Community Center. The lockers themselves are in good shape, said Building Superintendent Tom McAleer, and will remain.

Windows and doors throughout the pool complex will be replaced, and a handicapped ramp will be constructed at the main entrance. The cement by the concession stand will also be replaced.

This is the second winter the pool complex has received serious attention. Last year, the roof was replaced, the building got a new stucco façade and new awnings were installed above the two entrances. Doug Clarke, the pool maintenance supervisor, said the upgrades were necessary at the 53-year-old facility.

Clarke said the upgraded locker rooms will save on maintenance costs every winter. After this winter’s round of repairs, he said the only major project that needs to be completed will be replacing the original dive pool.

McAleer said that all work at the pool must be done by June 7, which is when the facility opens for the 2013 season.