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Recently, an ad ran in this publication, suggesting any objections to the handling of the Disbrow Park/Thruway property decisions by the City Council majority are merely partisan rhetoric.

In response, I want to simply review the proposed actions and timelines put forth by the Council majority. No additional “partisan analysis” is required to show why many Rye taxpayers are concerned about the potential cost and impact of the Council’s plans.

At the June 7th Council meeting, although not listed on the agenda, the topic of the Thruway property/DPW redesign was introduced in relation to a “possible referendum ballot on fields or parking in November 2017.” For this to occur, final language would be required by September 8, before the September Council meeting; leaving only a single meeting in July for further discussion.

Councilmember Kristin Bucci dismissed concerns about the condensed timeline, stating that the Council could come up with a plan and final language by September, and recommending that people who have questions or want to see data send her an email. She even suggested scheduling a special August meeting, if necessary, because the opportunity was “too huge.”

I am curious how the “All Rye” team can explain this timeline as anything but the Council majority trying to finalize a huge decision with little public debate, and on an extremely accelerated timeline.

In addition, the All Rye team is now tying the Thruway property sale to the Disbrow Park reconfiguration.

However, Rye Country Day, Louden Woods and Rye Park neighborhood representatives all spoke at the June 7 meeting, and described likely <strong> neighborhood opposition to any move of the DPW to the Thruway location. This makes it unlikely that, even if DPW was moved, the City could use the Thruway location.

The current City Council majority refused to participate in the purchase of the Thruway property, leading to an agreement to have Rye Country Day purchase it, with an agreement to create field space for the City of Rye use. Further delay in the sale of the Thruway property might lead to an auction to the highest bidder. How can the All Rye team assert that this is in the best interest of the community?

Steve Otis’ proposed legislation does not require a sale to Rye Country Day, just allows it. And, the City of Rye has veto power if we don’t agree with the land use. Why does the All Rye team feel it is important to block a <potential > sale to Rye Country Day?

Finally, with a sale of the Thruway property to Rye Country Day, we might get a field that the City can use for $0, versus an estimated cost of $39 million for a DPW move, before cleanup or the purchase of property. With those costs factored in, the total could easily be northward of $50 million. How is this fiscally responsible?

There is little the public support for a complete reconfiguration of the park, and DPW move, based on the consulting work touted in the All Rye ad, in fact, a staggering 56% of respondents noted this option as “least favorite. In addition, the consulting work did not include any review of the existing recreational facilities in Rye, and how a Disbrow Park reconfiguration would fit into an overall master plan.

Although the Council majority scuttled their plans to ram it through, after a massive public outcry, I’d like to submit to the All Rye team that this proposal was poorly planned, extremely rushed, and certainly NOT best for all of Rye.

— Shari Punyon

I wanted to take a minute and say thank you to all the players, coaches, and umpires in the Rye Recreation Softball Leagues. We had another great season of softball and I hope you all had a great time playing in Rye.

I would like to say thank you to John Demarco and his staff for all his help with the fields this season. Rye is very well known by umpires and players alike to get games in when other leagues cancel after rain. This is because of John and his staff’s good work. 

Have a great summer everyone and we will see you next season at the field!

— Doug Scott,

Rye Recreation Softball Commissioner 

I am writing in response to Howard Husock’s commentary, “Making Rye’s Public Pool More Public”. It was enlightening to see a clear analysis of the Golf Club’s income and expenditures, including the fact that the pool and golf course subsidize the money-losing restaurant.

When my husband and I moved to Rye over 20 years ago, we looked forward to joining the pool but could not because it cost more than twice what we were paying in our former Westchester community for a more elaborate complex. Becoming seniors, we hoped that Rye would offer a senior discount. Unfortunately, Rye does not, although we recently heard whispers that members of the Rye Seniors were able to pay for a one-day admission to the pool. We were, and remain, flabbergasted by the price of a pool membership; when so many comparable communities use tax money to subsidize such recreational facilities, we do not understand why Rye does not.

We reluctantly accept that we are excluded from going to the pool because of the cost. However, I am incredibly offended by the suggestion that having people without high incomes would lower the standards of the Golf Club.

When I came to teach in Rye over 25 years ago, my friends and colleagues urged me not to come here. “You’ll hate it. It’s such an elitist and snobbish community.” I ignored their advice, came to Rye to teach, and eventually moved here. Never did I feel regarded as a “second class” person; instead, I found students and parents, for the most part, to be respectful and appreciative. I was, therefore, shocked to hear Rye Golf Club Commissioner Pat Geoghegan say that lowering the membership fee would “destroy the club atmosphere.” Apparently, I am acceptable as a teacher in this community: I can pay my property taxes, but I am not of the right ilk for our city-owned pool. Geoghegan also asserts that it would be “unfair to the general taxpayer” that might not use the facility. I disagree vehemently. By living in a society, we have an implicit contract to finance certain aspects of life: health and safety (fire, police), infrastructure (DPW), quality of life (parks and recreation, libraries), and the future of our world (education). People say that they do not want to pay for schools, roads, parks, libraries, etc. because they do not use them. However, we have a communal responsibility to pay taxes for items we might not use just as others pay for items we use. We have a responsibility to share in the cost of making our community a safe and comfortable place for everyone. I cannot understand why it is more acceptable to provide playing fields and tennis courts than it is to have an affordable pool. Each benefits the community and should be supported with tax money.

It seems to me that there are two issues: one is the use of tax dollars to benefit all segments of the community; the other is to erase the elitist attitude that using tax dollars to support a city-owned facility and lowering the membership fee to be more inclusive would, somehow, ruin the facility.

I hope that Rye reconsiders its funding for the Golf Club and, perhaps even more importantly, looks carefully at the message it sends to its residents.

— Jane Johnson

When I called Rye Golf Club last month to inquire about the cost of pool membership for the summer season, I was informed that it would set me back $1,668. We are a British family and have been out of Rye for six weeks of the summer, so this was an eye-watering figure we couldn’t entertain.  

Howard Husock is absolutely right in saying that the Golf Club pool is a luxury good and that Rye is crying out for an affordable city-owned swimming pool. If the similarly affluent suburbs of Scarsdale and Great Neck can manage it, why can’t Rye?

My family and I recently discovered the eminently affordable public pool at Saxon Woods, just ten minutes down the road, and were hugely impressed. The high quality facilities are well maintained. The pool — Westchester County’s largest – is vast and the children's water play area kept our two sons amused for hours. We live in hope that one day Rye might enjoy something similar.  

With many thanks and kind regards, 

— Fiona Philip

Making Rye’s Public Pool More Public

By Howard Husock

Pullquote: The current model at Rye Golf Club makes it difficult for Rye residents of modest means to use the pool.

Scarsdale and Great Neck are, like Rye, among the country’s most affluent and desirable suburbs. All boast outstanding school systems and high property values. But, as the summer season reminds us, there’s one notable difference among them: the cost of admission to a city-owned swimming pool.

A season family pass to the Scarsdale pool complex is $428. A similar pass to the Great Neck pool: $400. The price in Rye: $1,450.

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