The pool envisioned years ago by the late Woodbury Town Supervisor John P. Burke finally opened on July 4 with much wet and merry frolicking. Its location has a long watering hole history, provided by Burke’s son, current Woodbury Town Supervisor Tom Burke.
Rider’s Pond was established there over a century ago, Burke said, donated by Edward Cornell for recreational use, but also used for ice harvesting. Toward the latter part of the 20th century, for thirty years, it was used as a bathing beach and became known as the Central Valley Pond. In 2010 it became a pool but closed in 2019 because of leakage.
Former Supervisor John P. Burke, well liked in the community, was an advocate for parks development, Tom Burke said, recalling his father’s vision for a more substantial Woodbury Community pool and his daily habit of strolling through the pool area, asking residents how they were doing, how he was doing as supervisor and what he could do better. In 2014, when John Burke died while in office, the original pool was renamed and dedicated in his honor.
In 2020, current Supervisor Thomas J. Burke joined the Board, and the Town Board made it their mission to partner with the community to actualize the community pool, he said. The community voted on size of the pool and provided additional suggestions.
This all took place during COVID, when much was shutting down. State Senator James Skoufis helped Woodbury set up a referendum so a vote could take place, enabling town residents to provide their input, Burke said. Town officials then worked with a pool engineer to design the desired pool, a two and a half year process, culminating in the July 4 grand opening.
“I know my father and mother are looking down upon us and saying, ‘Job well done,’” said Burke.