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Petition started over planned closing of pool in Brooklyn

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Gowanus Canal Gowanus Canal
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

A Brooklyn community is trying to save a Double-D pool as a federal plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal puts the pool's future in jeopardy.

Residents and community leaders are outraged at the plan. 

On another sticky day during an already-steamy New York City summer, Brooklyn's Zyanna Matthew brought her family down to Gowanus' Double-D pool to just chill out.

"The pool is important so we can keep cool," she said.

For more than 40 years, people like the Matthews have sought respite from the heat in the Double-D's chlorinated waters. But this summer, cooling off in the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Park Slope has evolved into a hot issue thanks to a federal plan to replace the Double-D's clean cold pool with a tank of festering sewage.

"Oh, gosh," Zyanna's mom, Renay, said. "And then we'd [have to] turn on fire hydrants."

If the federal government flushes away the Double-D, would-be swimmers and splashers can thank the Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup plan. Its nearly $80 million project seeks to keep excess sewage out of a canal already polluted by industrial slop by storing it where we now find the Double-D pool.

The Parks Department, the district's city councilman and even the city's comptroller all oppose the plan, and on Saturday participated in a rally to prove it.

"The families are making their position very clear," New York City Comptroller John Liu said, "and the city should stick up for the families."

But - with memories of contaminated canal water flooding the streets during Superstorm Sandy still in their minds - residents, local leaders and the city all say they do want the Gowanus cleaned up, just not in a way that hurts the community.

"What we really want is to make sure our community is protected and provided for before, during and after the environmental cleanups that are happening here," Friends of Douglass Greene Park board member Sabine Aronowsky said.

Aronowsky and others started a petition to keep the pool open, but the Environmental Protection Agency says, unless the city provides an alternate site, it will swap cannonballs for wrecking balls at the Double-D pool and start stashing sewage there.

Or else -- meet the feds in court.

Zyanna cares little for politics. She's more focused on the concrete results.

"If we didn't have the pool, we would be very hot."

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