Rosendale Pool to unveil new bathhouse on Memorial Day weekend

Rosendale Highway Superintendant Robert Gallagher has been overseeing the nearly completed work on the new bathhouse and concession stand at the Rosendale Pool. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

After two years of not opening until July Fourth weekend (not to mention being closed for replacement for several summers before that), the new Rosendale Pool is headed for an early start to the 2018 season. The finishing touches are still being put on several refurbished amenities as of presstime, but the town’s Recreation Department is shooting for a launch on May 26, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

Swimmers, waders and dabblers alike have been effusive in their praise of the new pool since its reopening in 2016. (Actually, it’s two pools now: a deep one with marked lanes for competitive meets and people who swim laps for serious exercise, and a shallower one with a “zero entrance” that’s wheelchair- and toddler-friendly.) But pool patrons have had to make do with porta-potties, awaiting renovations to the bathhouse. Good news: That work is now essentially done.


“Everything’s new except for the concrete blocks,” said Rosendale town supervisor Jeanne Walsh as she conducted a press tour of the bathhouse last week. Actually, even some of the superstructure is new, as the building has been extended southward to make room for much more luxurious and varied features. “It was like a dungeon in here before,” she added.

The main entry to the pool will now pass right through the rear of the bathhouse building, via a rolldown steel gateway. Just beyond the entrance is the cashiers’ booth, brimming with daylight passing through translucent panels set into the new south-facing wall. The women’s locker room opens on the west side and the men’s toward the east, with pool access directly through the two changing areas. Behind the booth in the center of the building are a magnificent new water heater, newly hired pool manager Bill Santella’s office and the lifeguards’ headquarters, which opens onto the pool area itself. A capacious storage room for pool equipment lies on the building’s east end. “It still has that new-car smell,” Walsh noted.

The bathhouse has a new electrical system, new ceilings, new solid-vinyl flooring. On the day of the press tour, a worker from J & A Roofing was perched overhead wielding a crimping tool, putting the finishing touches on the eaves of the new standing-seam aluminum roof. Its bright-blue color is repeated throughout the building, notably in the dressing areas. These are roomy and well-lit, with speckled blue Corian sink counters and blue steel dividers on the toilet stalls and changing booths. The latter are equipped with vinyl curtains for privacy.

Each of the two changing areas has a large, handicapped-accessible multihead shower and 42 clothing lockers; the women’s side has six toilet stalls, the men’s two toilet stalls and three urinals. And both the men’s and women’s side feature fold-down baby-changing counters. Everything looks bright, fresh and clean, easy-to-maintain. “This is Jeannie’s baby; she designed every nook and corner,” said recreation director Tara Burke.

Making it easy for Dads to undertake an equal share of baby maintenance may seem forward-thinking, but the diapering gizmos aren’t the most revolutionary part of the refurbished facility. Before you even enter the gateway, you’ll see 16 exterior bring-your-own-lock lockers, as well as doors leading to one room with a toilet and sink and another with a shower. Even outside of pool hours, these facilities will be made available for visitors who might want to freshen up and change clothes for an evening on the town after a vigorous day on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The Adirondack Trailways stop and a bicycle rental business are located just across Route 32 from the pool, and Rosendale wants to maximize its potential for active outdoor recreational tourism.

“It’s also a function of our sheltering. That’s a big part of how the New York Rising grant came about,” Burke noted. “In 2011, after Hurricane Irene, there were people who lived in this building for a week.” The exterior bathroom and shower will be “open three seasons, closed in winter, unless there’s an emergency like a power outage,” added Walsh. The entire bathhouse has new insulation and an electrical heating system that can be employed year-round anytime residents are in need of emergency shelter.

Meanwhile, Rosendalers are focused on more pleasant prospects: an early start to a long, sultry summer of brisk dips and poolside lounging. Even the water in the pools will be cleaner this year than the streamwater pumped in during summers past: “Terry [Johnson, Rosendale water commissioner] is planning on filling the pool next week, using town water that’s already treated using our new water filter plant. All those infrastructure improvements pay off,” Walsh said.

The Rosendale Pool is located at the Rosendale Recreation Center at 1055 Route 32. The pool will be open weekends only from Memorial Day until the end of the school year in late June, and seven days a week for the rest of the summer. As of presstime, there are still openings for swimming lessons and summer camp; campers visit the pool daily, weather permitting. To sign up, and for information about pool hours and fees, call (845) 663-4577 or visit or