Lately I’ve been reading on Patch and what Albany residents were promised by Measure E supporters. For your reference, I’ve attached a copy of the main flyer that Measure E supporters produced and distributed.
Given the economic tumult over the last few years, I think we should all be pleased. The district was able to do pretty much what it said it would do.
I was on the school board when we decided to rebuild Cougar Field and the Albany pool, and I concur with Peggy McQuaid and Ira Sharenow that our school’s sports and PE facilities were never conceived of as profit centers.
While I agreed with William Wong, the school superintendent at the time, that a new pool must primarily serve the needs of the high school, I thought one way the district could say thanks to the community was to provide a small, warm pool for lessons and water exercise.
Given the two pools would have complimentary uses, yet would be able to share a lot of common infrastructure, many of us thought at the time the two-pool proposal (as detailed in the flyer) would give us the most bang for our buck. I still think that.
What bothers me about the current debate is that it overlooks the two most important issues. Swimming is a great life-long exercise, and it’s a great high school sport. But it is also an important safety skill. Here are some statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control:
- Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years.
- Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4 years.
Just as important, swimming is really fun. My son is now almost 20, and his fondest memories of growing up in Albany center around the pool. He learned to swim there as a toddler, was on the HS swim team and became a lifeguard there by the time the pool closed (that’s him on the back of the flyer).
So if you are worried about the subsidy necessary for the pool, and if you are out of practice in the water, and if you want to get swim lesson for the kids, I suggest there is a simple solution to all those problems.
When the new pools open, grab the kids and get you butts down there. The pool will be a success if we make it a success. We have forgotten what a sense of joy and community the pool can provide for this town.
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