Closing pool is a safety, wellness issue

I am writing this letter to appeal to all the parents whose children have learned to swim at the North Country Community College pool, to the folks who have used this pool to aid in rehabilitating injuries, to all the people who use the pool for general fitness, and to any organization or business who has used the pool for training. Won’t you help support the pool by writing a letter to NCCC administrators, college board members and county legislators?

The college has two master renovation plans, and only one of them includes keeping the pool. Once it is gone, it is doubtful there ever will be another. President Tyrell told me that talks about these renovations, including the pool, started in August, yet one of the college’s board members only learned of it in early winter with the rest of us.

The name of the college includes the word “community” in its title, which means it serves more than just the students. The community helps fund the college through county taxes, so it should give back to the community rather than take away. Getting rid of the pool means no swimming lessons for children. With all the lakes and ponds and the huge participation in boating and paddling, this is a safety issue that should be a big concern. Local waters do not warm early enough to accommodate swim lessons, lifeguard training and water safety programs that are needed in this area.

There are older people in this area who no longer feel safe doing winter outdoor activities. NCCC’s pool offers a safe and monitored environment for them to continue to include exercise in their lives.

Swimming is a healthy low-impact activity that aids in general fitness for all ages. It also helps people heal injuries and aids in addressing chronic pain. I am not sure what my life would be like if I did not have the lap swimming to keep my chronic back pain in check.

I have been told that the pool costs too much and does not help increase enrollment. However, I have seen very little, if any, effort to help market pool use. Hours are not listed in the Enterprise like other fitness activities are. Once there was a Continuing Education Department that sent out brochures that included information about aquatic programs. I have not seen those in many years.

I have also been told by an NCCC staff member that only older people use the pool. Well, of course! The majority of the local population is either at work or in school. The only hours after 5 is on Friday.

So let us not complain about money when so much more could be done to raise money. And don’t complain about pool use when most people cannot attend during the pool hours that are offered.

I understand that the pool is not a big money-maker. But more should have been done and can be done to help with that before it is taken away. Sometimes decisions have to be made that are not based on money but rather because it is the right thing to do. It is the right decision to keep the pool because it is an asset that benefits the people in this community for different reasons and because North Country Community College is a “community” college.

Please help keep the pool by writing a letter of support. The email addresses are below:

¯ NCCC President Tyrell, president@nccc.edu

¯ NCCC Board of Trustees, boardchair@nccc.edu

¯ Franklin County Board of Legislators Chairman Donald Dabiew, ddabiew@franklincony.org

¯ State Sen. Betty Little, little@nysenate.gov

¯ Letters to Adirondack Daily Enterprise, pcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

Deborah Young lives in Saranac Lake.

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