Letter from Council Member Dominick Calsolaro to Mayor Jennings
December 3, 2010
Hon. Gerald D. Jennings, Mayor
City of Albany
24 Eagle Street, Room 102
Albany, New York 12207
Dear Mayor Jennings:
Please do not veto the Common Council amendment which restored the necessary funding to keep Public Bath No. 2 opened and operating for fiscal year 2011.
There are many reasons why this city-owned and city-operated community asset must remain open:
1. Public Bath No. 2 is the only city-owned and city-operated community building in the South End. To close it would send the wrong message, not only to City residents, but to potential developers and investors in Albany's South End. If the City is unwilling to invest in the South End, then why should private companies or potential homeowners invest in the South End?
2. As you noted on your radio show today, people from outside of the City use the bath. Isn't that a good thing - that Public Bath No. 2 brings visitors from outside the City to the City to use one of our assets? I would think the City administration would want to attract non-residents to its facilities. What would Capital Hills Golf Course at Albany be like if non-residents were not welcomed to play golf? Or Swinburne Park's skating rink if only City residents were allowed to skate there? I really don't believe you would limit these other City facilities to City residents only, so why are you denigrating Public Bath No. 2 because people from outside the City use its pool?
3. Over many, many years, the City has neglected funding the major repairs and renovations Public Bath No. 2 needs in order to be a fully-functional and inviting building. The City must not compound this mistake by abandoning this facility and adding another vacant building to the vacant building registry - especially a building that is owned by the City. The City has been coming down very strongly over the past two years on absentee landlords and other property owners for not keeping their buildings in the proper condition. The City should hold itself to the same standards it is demanding of others, and fix the problems at Public Bath No.2. Again, it does not look good for the City to be punishing private property owners for lack of maintaining their properties, when the City is not, and has not been, properly maintaining its own properties.
4. Public Bath No. 2 has had no programming for children, adults or seniors that would attract more people to use the pool. If programming is instituted, and advertised like other City recreational programs (karate, boxing, Capital Hills, etc.), I believe Public Bath No. 2 would be used a great deal more than it is presently.
5. Common Council members were told at last Monday's caucus (November 29, 2010) that the charter schools are looking for a pool to use. With some creative thinking, I feel the City could contract with both charter schools and public schools for the use of the pool. Should such an arrangement be worked out, it would help to defray the cost of operating Public Bath No. 2. In other words, it could be a win-win situation all the way around.
6. By keeping Public Bath No.2 open, and by showing a commitment from the City to keep the building functioning in 2011, it will give the City time to research grant opportunities, both historic preservation in nature or the current trend in "green" rehabilitation. If Public Bath No.2 is closed, it will be much more difficult to access grant funds and to undertake the necessary repairs and rehabilitation to bring the building up to 21st century standards.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Common Council Member - First Ward
cc: John D'Antonio