Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hot Time in the Town


UPDATE: Thursday 6/9
So I'm now told that School Super Maria Geryk and Town Manager John Musante have been in negotiations for a month about possibly opening the Middle School Pool this summer as a public service (some would argue 'Public Safety Service'.) Let's keep our flippers crossed for a positive outcome.
############################################

With public schools not yet in summer recess, today's gorgeous weather will only serve as a distraction to our youth, but a month from now it will act as an oppressive tormentor. And the town will provide little respite.

Back in 2005 venerable Amherst Town Meeting approved spending $140,000 to refurbish the War Memorial Pool area "comfort station" (bathrooms) a 50 year old cinderblock structure that also serves as Stan Ziomek's office for all things baseball.

That money has sat in an account all these years and is only now being used for its original purpose. Meanwhile the town closed the adjacent War Memorial Pool two years ago due to either budget restrictions or maintenance issues (depending on who is spinning the facts) and current studies show the pool needs $175,000 for proper renovation.

Last month Town Meeting approved spending $65,250 in a last minute vote to give the pool a death row pardon this summer, but town officials quickly nixed the idea and decided to stash the cash as a downpayment towards the $175-k required "to do it right" for next year.

But that $65,000 was based on operation costs for a season. Since the pool usually generates $20,000-$25,000 in membership fees, Town Meeting was clearly thinking it worth $40,000 in business losses to keep kids happy.

So why not take $10,000 of that money and purchase pool memberships at Hampshire Athletic Club and distribute them to the most needed families in town? LSSE charges $85 for a one month pool pass (out of the reach of many families even if War Memorial was open for business) while Hampshire Athletic Club--with a well maintained indoor pool--only charges $69.

And if the town went to the owners with that much cash in hand, I'm sure they would institute a corporate non profit discount on those passes; plus if each person also kicked in $10 or $20 in matching monies, a couple hundred citizens could be well served.

Such a public/private partnership is a B-I-G win situation: Hampshire Athletic Club acquires new members at the slowest time of the year, the town helps facilitate a valuable public good and--most important--children get to cool off.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

HAC is a private facility with VERY limited capacity. There's no way they could accommodate all those kids or adults. That's why the town should open that pool at the high school. Completely different demographics served.

LarryK4 said...

The town does not own the pool at the middle school. The Region owns it. Take it up with Superintendent Maria Geryk.

Anonymous said...

Great idea!

Now make it happen, Larry.

-YF

Anonymous said...

It's really unbelievable that Amherst is unable to open the pools this year, no matter who owns or runs them. Sad.

LarryK4 said...

Mill River pool will be open, but last year it was swamped on hot days and over 100 kids did not get swim lessons because the pool was oversubscribed.

Ed said...

OK Team Maria -- this is a public challenge -- show that Maria G truly cares about the children of this town, figure out how she can open up one of the ARSD's pools for the children.

What about those children for whom exposure to the sun would not be a good idea -- those who sunburn easially, those on certain medications, those whose parents can't be outdoors for a long period of time in the sun.

Lets think diversity here...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of heat and sun, anyone notice all the trees that UMass is cutting down at Lincoln Apts? Five massive ones went down yesterday, probably another five today -- they are clearcutting the campus...

We protest five decrepit and dying cherry trees, yet ignore massive healthy trees coming down...

Anonymous said...

Ed, as my 12 year old daughter would say "you are such a butt head" And a racist one at that.

Anonymous said...

While you are wondering why the war memorial pool cannot open, you should look into how many people hours go into maintaining the "Stan Ziomek" baseball diamond.

The DPW grooms that field as if it were Fenway Park. What a waste of money.

There is a treasure trove of a story buried in the DPW, Kelley, but I doubt you'll inverstigate that one since you live next door to them. Wouldn't want to see you get plowed in after every storm if you piss them off.

But there is money the DPW is spending on grooming that field that could be moved to open the pool. Teach the baseball teams to groom fields. That's what college baseball teams do. They groom their own fields.

Anonymous said...

"Mill River pool will be open, but last year it was swamped on hot days and over 100 kids did not get swim lessons because the pool was oversubscribed"

You are providing your own rebuttal on your silly idea. HAC doesn't have a fraction of the capacity needed for the demand. War Memorial pool parents want to come and spend the day, which isn't going to make all the busy people trying to get their laps in very happy if you moved them to HAC.

LarryK4 said...

You're starting to sound like an HAC member who wants the pool all to himself.

Anonymous said...

HAC is a private club. PEople pay to be members. If you don't like it, start your own club. Jesus Larry, your sounding more and more like a commie.

LarryK4 said...

Who said anything about free? I'm a BIG believer in if you pay for something you will perhaps use it.

HAC charges $69 for a month but if you were to go to them and buy 100 one month passes I'd be will to bet they would discount them down to the $49/month they charge if you sign up for 12 consecutive months via EFT.

Then if the town kicks in $25 per one month pass that leaves only $24 per month for the end user to pay. Not a bad deal (for everybody) considering the town charges $85 for a one month pool pass.

Cost to the town only $2,500. Then if it works out do it for another 300 passes. Total cost to the town, $10,000.

Public relations value, priceless.

Anonymous said...

Reluctantly........yes, Ed is a racist.

Ed said...

So persons of color don't ever take any of these drugs: http://www.totalblock.com/PhotosensitiveDrugs.htm

Right....

All middle-aged persons of color can sit in the midday July sun for hours without any adverse effect to their health or wellbeing. Right...

Exactly who is being the racist here -- and who is saying that medical issues affect all persons notwithstanding the color of their skin. Hey, EVERYBODY is sensitive, to some extent, to radiation poisoning....

Anonymous said...

Now I remember what it is: "Hereditary Polymorphic Light Eruption" - literally an allergy to the *long* UV waves of sunlight so that sunscreens don't help -- it is genetically hereditary to certain Native American (Indian) peoples, but with four centuries of intermarriage, it is found amongst all peoples -- including so-called "African-Americans" (who, like most of us, are of mixed race if you follow the family tree back far enough).

Yes, Ed the Evil Racist actually knows people who are either dealing with this or something similar -- and it appears to be exceptionally problematic/painful for one person I know -- who is Black.

Furthermore, it is either HIV or the drugs that treat it (I forget which) that also makes one quite sensitive to the sunlight.

So we have American Indians, African Americans and AIDS patients also sensitive to the sun and you still call me a racist for mentioning this.

You are the racist. By contrast, I am sensitive to all forms of diversity -- and people with fair skin, people with photosensitivity, people running high blood pressure or tending toward diabetes (also of particular concern in the AfricanAmerican community as both are somewhat heritable, diabetes most definitely is) -- all kinds of people can be sensitive to the sun and hence restricted to indoor pools (or their children are because grandma can't sit in the sun all day watching them)....

Anonymous said...

What is stopping the town goverment from using the $210K to renovate the bathrooms and pool? If the funds are available they should be used.

Anonymous said...

Good question, Anon 10:15. I have been wondering the same thing?

Also, has anyone ever thought that if Ed spent more time working on his degree and less time commenting on Larry's blog, he would have graduated by now? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

If he got his degree, he might be out in the real world doing some serious damage. Stay right where you are, Ed.

Anonymous said...

I'm not clear on the HAC suggestion. I would actually think you should be advocating that the town close both pools since there is a private facility in town that has a pool and offers lessons.

That was your beef about karate and LSSE/ unfair public subsidized competition to a private enterprise.


With that said, I'm a great believer in the public pools being open and accessible.

I've brought up for years a questin that nobody seems to want a part of. i'm guessing it's as politically sensitive as baseball in Amherst since nobody will provide answers nor even credence my inquiries with a reply

Who benefits from the town owned horse farm? How much $ does that cost in ownership and forfeited taxes? How many citizens participate? How do the people running it make salaries, etc....

A lot more children and families would benefit from an open pool, I'd venture to guess...but that's all it can be is a guess. Pet projects get blessings in this town all the time.

the payoffs to TM and other staff member would have certainly benefitted the children and adults of town much better put toward the opening of both pools.

LarryK4 said...

I do not view a summer pool only open for a couple months out of the year as competition for HAC.

Now if LSSE tried to build a $10 million dollar Recreation Center with year round indoor pool, exercise machines and fitness classes (which they have been trying to do for 20 years now) I would strongly oppose that based on unfair competition with a tax paying private entity such as HAC.

Anonymous said...

That argument would also apply to your previous contention regarding karate classes since your club offered so much more and year round when LSSE karate classes were only during a few weeks a year.

I do give up in trying to make sense of this town.

horse farm is a big secret.

LarryK4 said...

Actually at the time (1983) I was only a karate school. LSSE was offering 8 week courses in the Fall and again in the Spring.

And at the time (1983) Amherst pretty rolled up the streets in the summer so I probably should have suspended operations every summer (as a lot of gymnastic and ballet studios did).

We did not become the Amherst Athletic Club until around 1987.