Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Recap of the August 20th Capital Budget Hearing

The public hearing went well last night. We had a great turnout. It was a very positive atmosphere. Thank you so much for coming to show your support and thank you to those who spoke in favor of the pool.
Highlights of the evening
Mr. Wetmore who co-chaired the Pool Evaluation Committee addressed many of the concerns of those in the audience who are still making up their minds. He has put together a business report that will be available online, at the Town Library and the Senior Center. He reminded us that the pool is not a business but a municipal entity. He gave us the reality-check figure that the solution to the pool would cost the average homeowner a paltry $2.60 per year. $2 and 60 cents for a solution. He talked of community and how he doesn't use the youth center, have kids in school, use the library and the senior center but pays for it as part of the community "cover charge" as it were. We all pay for roads we don't use and venues we don't attend. It is disingenuous to single out the pool. He commended the volunteerism of the Evaluation Committee and supporters and urged us all to work hard to get the solution passed. 

 Robyn Housemann gave a stirring account of the health challenges facing our society and contrasted them with the benefits of using a pool. She spoke of seniors who often can only exercise in water because of mobility issues. She spoke of the advantages of swimming with regard to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. She urged Cheshire to continue its record of encouragement of activity as evidenced by the existence of the linear trail, open space and Park and Rec programs. She called the pool a "social asset" outlining the mental health benefits of going as a family to swim, in a group to exercise, or individually improving your health.

 The swim teams were represented by Greg Han who told of his personal journey from child to young man and the life lessons he took from swim team's "intense" regimen. He credited his swim achievements with his acceptance to Amherst. Paul Robinson found out from council that there is 275K from insurance regarding the bubble collapse and was assured that it would be spent on pool-related expenses. Denise Bishop, a swimmer's mother, told of her conversion from a parent dropping her child at the pool for practice to an active participant in all the activities that the pool has to offer. She pleaded with the Council to vote for the solution.

 Matt Levine, also on the Evaluation Committee, reminded us all that this is a "community" pool. It serves young and old of all abilities. He noted that the pool was the site of the National Dual Meet record and was a huge source of pride then and should continue to be so. He promised the Council that we would work tirelessly to get the solution passed in referendum.

The Council now takes all these comments into consideration and on the 27th (Tuesday) will vote on the items to be included in the Capital Budget. We will know on Tuesday if the solution will go to referendum in November. Our work then will be getting the information to all our friends and neighbors and making sure that they get out to Vote Yes to the Pool solution. We will be relying heavily on each and every one of the Friends of Cheshire Pool to secure a yes vote. Judging by the performance of everyone so far we are well up to that task !