No Bean Counters Wanted
Do not let the accountants run the show in regards to a pool for Rockaway. Their cost analysis is just one small piece of information in regards to this decision. The study focuses on the near term cost considerations without the scope of examining the overall long-term community benefits both culturally and financially.
I was on the St Francis de Sales swim team and later became a beach lifeguard. Due to Rockaway’s relative remoteness, the lack of a local pool made swim practice difficult. Since being commissioned in the Navy, I had the privilege of living in numerous communities throughout the country with easily accessible recreational centers.
Based on this experience, I have a real problem with influencing a decision on such a narrow study. Where was the cost analysis of parents traveling all around the New York Metropolitan Area for their kids to use a pool? With the local lack of qualified lifeguards, how much does the City spend every year to recruit for the Rockaways? Rockaway is known for being a basketball powerhouse. With a pool, Rockaway could certainly dominate swimming and more teenagers could have the skills to become lifeguards. Swimming is a skill that benefits a person throughout their life.
If the community had an easily accessible pool, how much healthier would it be? Everyone would gain from a local pool, from the young to the mature. If families had open swim on the weekends and seniors had daily water physical therapy access, would Rockaway not be a stronger and healthier community? This cost study did not put a price tag on these non-financial and financial benefits.
If the cost accountants did studies for parks, would Central Park been built on such prime real estate? For the operating costs of Central Park, does the City collect that much revenue? How could anybody put a dollar sign on the value of any community resource? Community centers make cities habitable. Do not let the cost accountants shape Rockaway’s lifestyle; they just provide monetary information, not the dream. Elected leaders need to overcome these obstacles and enable a community’s vision.