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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.

How dreadful an idea to move Rye’s Department of Public Works to property on Boston Post Road across from Rye Country Day School, which is a beautifully set facility of learning and preparation for life for many young people.

We have all seen what the State of New York DPW does to property on and off the interstates where they need to store equipment and material for their million dollar projects; no thought for the landscape or the vista of drivers.

The residents of northeastern Rye (Hillside, Grandview, Evergreen) have their hands full trying to fight off the traffic incursion to be generated by the redevelopment of the former United Hospital property, and now they are having their backside truly dismantled with a DPW field office and storage lot.

I’m sure the Mayor and the City Council understands how wrong an idea this plan is.

An alternative would be to build a service road, a back door so to speak, from the DPW along the west side of the wetlands to Playland Parkway to be used during the work week by commercial and employee vehicles. It would have to be gated and restricted in its use for the sake of the residents living adjacent to the property.

Then over time, Disbrow Park and the DPW can go their separate ways — one to Oakland Beach Avenue and the other to Playland Parkway and I-95 — at a minimum of expense.

— Tim Harvey