By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – For Maritza Wilson, it’s personal.
The lifelong City of Newburgh resident and longtime City of Newburgh Recreation employee Wilson was overflowing with nostalgia and emotion last Wednesday evening, near Delano-Hitch Stadium, at the official ground breaking ceremony for the Newburgh Aquatic Center.
“Having had seen the original construction of this pool going up in 1999 and working here while seeing so many generations coming through and enjoying all that it has to offer, my heart is so thankful to Annie Delano for donating this land and giving families in the community a place to go,” reflected Wilson, presently holding the position of Bilingual Clerk for the Recreation Department. “So much good has come from right here; for so many children this represented summer, some coming here with a handful of a dollar in change and really excited to come through the entrance; it just touched me so much.”
Now, thanks to funding from several sources, including The American Rescue Plan (part of Covid Recovery monies), the diligent efforts of a Newburgh City Council, along with unwavering commitment of community members and many others possessing a crystal vision for an expanded, more modernized City of Newburgh pool, a haven referred to by some as “one of Newburgh’s great centerpieces,” those summers will soon be even more exciting, creating lasting, precious memories. The next step in that long-awaited, for many much overdue as a result of “decades of neglect,” process, took place last week amidst soft rhythmic music playing in the background, an upbeat crowd, and energized City of Newburgh Mayor and Council Members, along with other political dignitaries and officials, gripping gold hued shovels, eager to break ground for the brand new City of Newburgh Delano-Hitch Aquatic Center construction.
“Let’s get this going,” exclaimed City of Newburgh Mayor, Torrance Harvey just prior to the symbolic shoveling act. “This Aquatic Center is something that is going to make us all proud; our kids and families are going to enjoy this for generations to come.” Harvey added, “This is a truly historic moment; let’s cherish and relish it as we see our City government revitalizing the City of Newburgh.”
That renewed life will come in the form of a brand new pool, measuring 78 feet x 50 feet, accompanied by a large splash pad, a pool house filled with attractive features, as well as 73 space parking facility. The entire project is anticipated to be completed by the summer of 2025. Although actual construction on the new Center has not initiated yet, the demolition process, led by a 5-man crew, has, and is expected to be completed in October. From there, a more specific time table for the new Center will become available.
Containing many more updated and modern features, the Aquatic Center will help continue to move the City of Newburgh forward, evolving and growing with the times; however, vital pieces of its rich, proud, historic past, along with the people who first had the unforgettable vision for this precious pool, will remain at its core.
“This project goes way back to the original grant from the Delano Family with the mission to provide a facility for young people and the residents of the City of Newburgh,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson. “Everybody is going to love this pool; it’s going to provide a much needed outlet for young people as well as adults.”